Costa Rica is one of the Latin American countries with more gastronomic variety. You won’t believe how many different dishes you can try in Costa Rica. At first, it does not look that way because the touristic industry has standardized one or two national dishes o it is easier and better accepted by visitors. However, once you go to the country side and spend a little time with common people, you will be amazed by the variety. Take a look to the most common traditional dishes in Costa Rica.
- Casados - (Spanish, "married man") Whenever visitors come to Costa Rica, the traditional dished offered is "Casados", which includes some meat (fish, pork, chicken or beef) with fry plantain, salad (coleslaw or lettuce), rice, black or red beans, "picadillo" (which we will explain later on this post) and a "tortilla". However, if you try a "Casado" on a tico house, or on a small soda, you may also see some tomatoes spaghetti and boiled egg. In some restaurtants, they may serve "casados" with some slices of avocado.
This is usually a big dish, full of carbohydrates, but delicious and nutritive. If you are interested about some history about this traditional dish, there are two known theories: some people assure that the term "casados" was originated when restaurant customers asked to be treated as casados, since married men ate such meals at home. Another theory is that the rice and beans are married, since they are always together.
- Gallo Pinto - (Spanish "painted roster") It is a traditional dish also eaten in Nicaragua. Actually, most Latin American countries have some sort of dish like "Gallo Pinto" (in Cuba is called "Moros y Cristianos" and in Venezuela "Arroz con Caraotas"). It is a dished base on the combination of rice and beans. Traditionally the used beans are the black ones, although you may find many "Gallo Pintos" made with red beans (never white ones). The history of this dish is not well known, but some people say it came to Latin America with the migration of Africans.
- Olla de Carne - Another traditional dish made of hearty beef stew fortified with taro root, potatoes and sweet potatoes. The history of this dish goes back to a jewish dish called "Adafina". It is better eaten on lunch time, since it is a pretty big dish, which is served with white rice, and stew and all the different roots and vegetables. Some people add a endemic vegetable called "Tacacos" and others add plantain, yuca, quelites, and pumpkin (ayote), among other ingredients.
- Other dishes are: pozole, tamales, chorreadas, picadillo de arrachache, cajetas, sopa de leche, mondongo, rice and beans, bizcocho, arroz con leche, arroz con pollo, y empanadas de chiverre.