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Taste the Costa Rican Cuisine; A Tropical Blend of Flavors

Aug 17, 2007
Costa Rica food is the result of a medley of various types of spices, sauces, oils and other ingredients used in different cuisines from the various corners of the world. In the recipes of Costa Rica you will find the traces of the traditional cuisines of countries like Spain, France, China, Italy and Africa.

Spices like annatto, oregano, nutmeg, pepper, coriander, saffron, thyme, sauces like Worcestershire, soy, and Lizano, oils like vegetable oil and olive oil and ingredients like corn, sweet potatoes, cassava, beans, are all used in Costa Rica food. Rice is a very important part of Costa Rican diet and so are beans.

Apart from a huge variety of veggies, Costa Rica definatelly has good meats. Excellent beef from the local cows, abudance of really good local chicken and of cource fresh, high quality seafood.

Let's see what the Costa Ricans are eating, bite by bite.

Appetizers are known as bocas in the land of Costa Rica. These are served usually with drinks. These are often distributed free of cost. Even if they are priced it is kept at a bare minimum.
There are some very popular varieties of bocas available. Some of them are:

Tamales- these are cornmeal patties with a stuffing and it is wrapped and then steamed inside banana leaves.

Gallos - tortillas are very common in Costa Rica. Gallos are the tortillas heaped with meat, chicken, beans and lots of cheese.

Ceviche- this is a salad that acts as an appetizer. It is made from marinated seafood.

Patacones- these are fried green plantains that come in the form of chips.

Fried yucca- very popular, close to our french fries.
Tacos- filled in with lots of ingredients, chicken, guacamole and sauces.

Empanadas- breaded goods and pies.

The salads are as interesting as the appetizers. The common varieties of Costa Rican salads are made from tomato bits, onion rings, shredded cabbage, diced red or green peppers, a little cilantro with the seasoning done with lime juice and a little sprinkling of salt.

The Main Dishes are not only tasty and filling but also healthy. The spices are additives enrich the food yet keep it healthy.Some of the popular main dishes are:

Gallo Pinto- made from beans mixed with rice flavored with coriander, onions and some Worcestershire sauce.

Casados- is another dish that is a part of the daily diet of the Costa Ricans. This is a main course meal prepared from beans, rice, pork or chicken with some lettuce, cabbage, tomato salad and some dried plantains.

Frito- is a stew made from pork

Mondongo- a beef stomach soup

Barbudos- an omelet made from string beans

Soups are also an integral part in the Costa Rican diet. The most commonly prepared soups of Costa Rica are the Bacalao that is the cod soup, the Bean Soup, the Mondongo or the beef stomach soup, the Olla de Carne that is the Costa Rican beef soup, the Sopa de Albondigas or the soup that is made of meat balls, the Sopas de Leche or the Tortilla soup and the Sopa de Pescado that is the fish soup.

Besides the main dishes and soups there are also a number of sweet dishes and candies that are fascinating.Here are some of the wonderful desserts of Costa Rica:

The Cono Capuchino is an ice-cream cone with chocolate topping, flan is cold caramel custard, dulce de leche is a syrup made from boiled milk and sugar.

The thicker variety is known as the Cajeta and this is fudgelike and absolutely delicious.

Then there are the Mazamorra, which is a corn starch pudding, milanes are chocolate candies.

The Pan de Maiz is a type of sweet bread made from corn and the queque seco is a pound cake.

The Melcocha is a candy that is made from raw sugar and there is also the torta chilena, which is a multilayered cake full of dulce de leche.

Costa Rica drinks do more than just quenching ones thirst.

The most favorite costa rican drink is of course Coffee. High quality, nativelly cultivated and strong, on asking for milk coffee or 'cafe con leche' you will be offered coffee that is a strong blend of coffee and milk mixed in equal proportions. When you wish to have black coffee you need to ask for 'cafe sin leche'.

A very popular traditional drink of Costa Rica is Agua Dulce. This drink is made from sugarcane that is not strained or bleached.

The native fruits like mango, tamarindo, papaya, etc., are used to make fresh Fruit Juices. You can have these juices with milk or water.

Costa Rica makes good quality Gin and Vodka, moderate quality Rum and poor quality Whiskey. The mixture of coke and rum goes down very well with the locals in Costa Rica.

You can also try the native costa rican Beer, very popular among the natives, Imperial.

Home style cooking dominates the scene in Costa Rica with most people preferring simple dishes. However, the meals are wholesome, nutritious and priced reasonably, especially beef and seafood. People of Costa Rica love eating and so will you, if you try their wonderful, exotic cuisine.
About the Author
For more information on the fascinating land of Costa Rica, visit In Costa Rica

Find out more about the Costa Rican Cuisine and get some Recipe Ideas at In Costa Rica Guide
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