When it comes to food, Costa Ricans still rely heavily on traditional staples rather than expensive imported food and drink. While imported foods can be found while visiting Costa Rica, they are normally quite expensive and hard to come by. For these reasons, many visitors adapt to the simple, traditional Costa Rican diet that can be found easily and inexpensively in all restaurants in this great country.
A typical Costa Rican diet includes a lot of rice and beans. Meat is sometimes added to the diet, but there is an apparent absence of vegetables. Foods are normally heavy in oils and fried. There is an emphasis on home-style cooking with wholesome meals to be found at reasonable prices.
For breakfast, the most popular dish enjoyed by Costa Ricans is Gallo Pinto. This dish consists of fried rice and black beans. When it comes time for lunch, left over Gallo Pinto is simply enhanced with the addition of cabbage, fried platains, and some sort of meat.
Even though Costa Rica is surrounded on two sides by ocean, seafood is still a rarity and quite expensive in this country. Meat staples include chicken, simple fish, and beef. Seafood such as lobster, shrimp, oysters, and exotic fish is hard to come by.
Surprisingly, Costa Rica which is known for exporting coffee is hard pressed when it comes to fixing a palatable brew to offer to its visitors. Coffee served in Costa Rica is usually strong, bitter, and mixed with milk to make it more appealing.
While coffee might not be your best bet when choosing a beverage in Costa Rica, the country has a whole lot more to offer when it comes to national beverages. Horchata is one of the most popular drinks in the region and is a cinnamon flavored cornmeal drink. Also popular is chan, a slimy drink made from seeds. A delicious drink made out of fruit salad floating on cola and water is called frutas. And guaro, the nation's favorite alcoholic drink, is extremely potent but nearly tasteless.
Granted, dining in Costa Rica might take some getting used to especially if you're used to eating a wide variety of cuisines and imports. But the meals are wholesome, tasty, and cheap. There are also no stomach ailment concerns with Costa Rican foods as there are with other foods served in Central American countries.
by David Lovendahl, Costa Vista Marketing
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