Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Food of Costa Rica--Yummy or No?

When you think of Costa Rican food, what do you think about? Many people don't even really know what kind of food would be considered typical Costa Rican; however, Costa Rica does have a couple of national dishes, and one special condiment. Any ideas?

Yummy Lizano!
When eating out in Costa Rica, if the restaurant caters to the locals, you will always find a bottle of Lizano sauce on the table--kind of like how we have ketchup on the tables in the US. Lizano is used in cooking and also as a condiment. It tastes great on eggs, rice, beans, meat--well, just about everything! It's not a spicy sauce, but instead is more savory, with a hint of sweetness. It's definitely an original Costa Rican invention, and hard to come by in the US. It is so yummy, I always make sure to bring home a few bottles after each trip to Costa Rica!

Yummy Gallo Pinto!
Without Lizano sauce, you would be hard-pressed to make one of Costa Rica's most famous dishes--gallo pinto. Before I knew Lizano was the secret ingredient in gallo pinto, I couldn't figure out why mine just didn't taste right--the Lizano really makes a difference.

Gallo pinto literally means "spotted roster", and the name probably comes from the dish's speckled appearance. Gallo pinto is one of my personal favorites, and in Costa Rica it is usually eaten for breakfast along with eggs, corn tortillas, and maybe some plantains or other fruit, bacon, and/or cheese.

Yummy Chicken Casado (Casado Pollo)!
For lunch or dinner it is typical to have a casado. In Spanish, casado means married, and no one is really sure how this dish got that name, but most think it refers to the "marriage" of the food on the plate. The typical casado consists of rice, beans (usually black), a salad or slaw, and fried bananas or plantains. It may also come with corn tortillas and your choice of meat or seafood. Either way it is delicious, filling, and one of the cheapest ways to eat in Costa Rica. The casado can be found in any local, family-owned restaurant, which is called a "soda".

To get a really good feel for the food available in Costa Rica, I've put together the following video for you. It highlights some of the meals we've had while there. It covers food from the local sodas and some from more upscale restaurants as well. I bet your mouth will be watering by the time you're done!

As always, if you're interested in more information about Costa Rica, check out our Costa Rica website or request your free DVD! And don't forget you can join us in Costa Rica this December and try some of this wonderful food yourself: click here for more details!


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