4 Costa Rican Foodie Staples You Cannot Miss

29 June 2015

There are few things in this life that would make me happier than eating my way around this world. So, whenever I visit a new place, one of the first things I want to know about are the culinary delights. Here are four Costa Rican staples you just can't miss during your trip.

1. Casado
This traditional Costa Rican dish includes some kind of meat, beans, rice, vegetables and a small salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. On my first day in San Jose, my friend and went in search of a casado at a nearby soda. This isn't the kind of soda you'll find back in The States. Costa Rican sodas are typically little family run restaurants. My favorite casado came con pescado (with fish) or con pollo ala plancha (with grilled chicken). Just look at how pretty it is! Yum!
2. Gallo Pinto
I am officially a gallo pinto addict, and I want it for breakfast all day everyday. In fact, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it! Gallo pinto is a lovely mix of rice and black beans cooked with onions, cilantro and sometimes peppers. At breakfast time, this becomes a full meal with a grilled flour tortilla, fried huevos (eggs), Salchichon (a type of sausage) and slices of grilled plantains. Seriously, this little feast will change the way you think about starting your mornings. 
Photo courtesy of our friend Brittany Peterson
3. Michelada
Whenever we sat down for a drink, my friend who previously had lived in Costa Rica for almost two years would order a beer -- typically a Cerveza Imperial, one of the mass produced options in Costa Rica -- and then ask for it michelada. The server would bring our bottles over with pilsner-style glasses with a salt rim and lemon juice in the bottom. We would pour our beer over top, and voila! A refreshing beverage to cool us down. 
4. Copo
My friend had told me about these before I arrived. While lounging on Playa Hermosa, a beach in Guanacaste not that far outside of Liberia where we stayed, a little old man strolled by with a tiki-bar styled cart. He was serving Copos, which basically reminded me of an American Snow Cone on steroids. We ordered two, and I watched as he scooped ice into a paper cone, poor red syrup over it, and then continued to top it with all sorts of things like sweetened condensed milk, marshmallows, carmel sauce and some kind of cookie straw thing that I devoured. It was a little too sweet for me, so I couldn't eat the whole thing, but it was definitely fun to try!

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