the appetizer:

Almost 95% of the Costa Rican population are of Spanish or Mestizo (mixed) heritage, heavily influencing the country's cooking style. Costa Rica's traditionally mild, not over-spiced cuisine usually features rice and beans, which are also the main ingredients in the national recipe, gallo pinto.

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Costa Rica


arreglados—sandwiches or tiny puff pastries stuffed with beef, cheese, or chicken. Greasy!

arroz con pollo—a basic dish of chicken and rice

casado—arroz (rice), frijoles (black beans), carne (beef), repollo (cabbage), and plantano (plantain). Avocado (aguacates) or egg may also be included.

ceviche—marinated seafood, often chilled, made of corvina (sea bass), langostinos (shrimps), or conchas (shellfish). Normally served with lemon, chopped onion, garlic, and sweet red peppers.

chorreados—corn pancakes, often served with sour cream (natilla)

elote—corn on the cob, either boiled (elote cocinado) or roasted (elote asado)

empanadas—turnovers stuffed with beans, cheese, meat, or potatoes

enchiladas—pastries stuffed with cheese and potatoes and occasionally meat

gallo—tortilla sandwiches stuffed with beans, cheese, or meat

gallo pinto—the national dish (literally "spotted rooster"), made of lightly spiced rice and black beans. Traditional breakfast (desayuno) or lunch dish. Sometimes includes huevos fritos (fried eggs).

olla de carne—soup made of squash, corn, yuca (a local tuber), chayote (a local pear-shaped vegetable), ayote (a pumpkinlike vegetable), and potatoes

palmitos—succulent hearts of palm, common in salads

patacones—thin slices of deep-fried plantain. A popular Caribbean dish. Served like French fries.

pescado ahumado—smoked marlin

picadillo—a side dish of fried vegetables and meat

sopa negra—a creamy soup, often with a hard-boiled egg and vegetables soaking in the bean broth

sopa de mondongo—soup made from tripe (the stomach of a cow)

tamales—boiled cornmeal pastries stuffed with corn, chicken, or pork, and wrapped in a banana or corn leaf. A popular Christmas dish.

tortillas—Mexican-style corn pancakes or omelettes

Costa Rica

Costa Rican Recipes


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This page modified January 2007