The TOP FIVE traditional dishes of COSTA RICA

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto literally means “spotted chicken”. It is the typical breakfast in Costa Rica and consists of rice and beans stir-fried together in a pan to create a speckled appearance. It is usually served alongside fried or scrambled eggs, and sour cream or cheese. A popular seasoning for the Gallo Pinto is Salsa Lizano – a sweet salsa with a touch of spice.


Casado literally means “married man” in Spanish. It got its name from when wives would pack their husbands a lunch in a banana leaf for when they went to go work in the fields. It is the most common dish in Costa Rica. Casados consists mainly of rice and beans served together but not mixed. There is usually some type of meat and a salad to round out the dish. There may also be some extras like fried plantain, cheese or corn tortillas in accompaniment.


In Costa Rica, the best ceviche is made with local tilapia (white sea bass) and coriander, garlic, chilli, onion, and celery. It is made up of raw fish and seafood that can include octopus, shrimp and shellfish. The raw seafood is soaked in lemon juice, which “cooks” it by breaking down proteins.

Olla de carne

Olla de carne or “pot of beef”, is a hearty beef stew that comes from the Spanish influences. It is commonly prepared on weekends both in homes and in many local eateries. It is quite similar in style to other international stews such as the French “pot-au-feu” and Vietnamese “pho”. The stew uses locally grown ingredients to help provide its rich taste, including cassava (a starchy root vegetable), potatoes, corn, green plantains, squash or chayote, and taro roots.

Tres leches cake

Have you got a sweet tooth? Then this one is for you. Tres leches (three milk) cake is a dessert type cake that is drenched in several different forms of milk, including evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream!

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