The food in Costa Rica is influenced by cultures from all over the world because of the diverse population of ex-pats here. If you are searching for a real local dish, this blog will help you find just what you are looking for!
Local Food in Costa Rica for Breakfast
Costa Rican staples are rice and beans mixed with vegetables which they eat for almost every meal. Breakfast starts with a nice warm cup of coffee, Costa Ricans love their coffee. Their plate is served with the famous Gallo pinto which is rice and beans mixed, along with white bread, eggs, plantains, and a side of rich sour cream. You can almost always find a homemade hot sauce on the table which goes great with breakfast to bring the heat up a notch. If you don’t see it on the table, don’t be shy – just ask!
It is super common to eat fresh fruits throughout the day too because so many fruits are grown here naturally. Some of these include bananas, pineapples, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, coconuts, passionfruit, starfruits, lemons, limes, and mandarins. They are absolutely delicious!
Local Food in Costa Rica for Lunch and Dinner
For lunch and dinner, it is very common to eat a meal called Casado, which is a big meal composed of rice, beans, and a piece of meat. It also comes with something called picadillo, which consists of chopped and mixed vegetables like potatoes, green plantains, or squash. This is normally served with a salad and sweet plantain for dessert.
A very important meal for Costa Ricans is the Cafecito hour. Around 3 pm locals drink a cup of coffee accompanied by white bread or other types of sweet or savory pastries.
Local Food in Costa Rica for Special Occasions
On special occasions, like birthdays, Costa Ricans prepare a dish called arroz con pollo. The name of the dish translates to rice with chicken, and it usually comes accompanied by refried beans and a salad. On Christmas, tamales are a common meal and spaghetti squash empanadas are a traditional pastry for Easter.
We encourage you to try some local dishes on your trip to Costa Rica. Stop into a local restaurant or go off the beaten path a bit to try something new! Locals here are always welcoming and excited to share some of their cultures and traditions with you! What is your favorite local dish in Costa Rica? Share it in the comments below!