Food From Our Travels – Costa Rica
The food from our travels is an important part of the experience. It gives us an insight into a country and its culture, fuels our adventures and nourishes our bodies. In Costa Rica they live by the saying ‘pura vida’ meaning, simple life. The theory being that the most joy is found in the simpler things that life has to offer and their food, is no exception.
Compared the complex flavours of other Central American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica keeps things real simple. Wholesome essentials, fresh produce and simple spices designed to nourish the body. O and then there is the coffee which yes, is amazing as you expect it be.
The simplicity of Costa Rican food can be summed up by the fact their national dish is rice and black beans. It accompanies almost every breakfast and often sneaks it way into lunch and dinner too. Seasoned using onion, coriander and often served with a fried egg and salsa. It’s comforting, delicious and some how we don’t get bored of it!
It almost doesn’t matter what you order, chances are a plantain will appear with it in some form. Delicious, sweet fried plantains accompany most main meals that also involve rice and everything else has plantain crisps! The crisps are often flavoured with salt and lime and you find yourself eating bags at a time. The BEST however, is Patacones. Smashed green plantains, deep friend and served with guacamol are both an appetizer at restaurants and a street food snack.
Probably the most traditional dish, Casado is simply a complete meal with all of the staples to fuel your day. Typically consisting of rice, black beans, fried plantains, salad, slaw a meat of your choice and a tortilla. Eaten as a lunchtime meal by locals and toursits a like it is often the cheapest and the most filling thing on the menu. In more local areas, it isn’t even on the menu as it is just assumed you know they make it! If you dont see it, ask for it and it will appear.
Meaning ‘run down’ this is a soup essentially made of anything the chef can get their hands on! On the Caribbean coast it is hugely popular and is often a coconut based broth full of fish and seafood. On the Pacific coast chances are it is chicken and vegetables. Every one you eat tastes different to the last and every ones Abuelo (Grandma) makes it best.
It may not be their own creation, but Costa Rica has adopted ceviche and made it their own. Often made with sea bass, raw slices of fish are marinated in sweet, tangy limes with onions, red peppers and cilantro. It is fresh, refreshing and best eaten overlooking the sea under the shade of a palm leaf cabana.
We can’t pin point just one, they are all worthy of a place on the list! Papaya, mango, avocados as big as your head, guava, passion and star fruits and the sweetest citrus fruits. Then there are the lesser known Zapote, Jocote, Soursop (a smoothie favourite) and mamones. The best and the freshest tend to be on the road side stalls as you travel around.
Fresco for short, this is fresh fruit blended with either water or milk. You will often get a choice of fruits from pineapple, cantaloupe, passion fruit or whatever they have at the time and asked ‘en lech o agua?’ – with milk or water. The choice is yours!
Costa Rica has over 70,000 coffee plantations all growing Arabica beans within its borders. Grown in the volcanic ash rich soil it has a unique flavour and packs a punch. Order like a local and ask for it con leche (with milk) but if you don’t like it sweetened make sure you say as it comes sweet as standard. Coffee is everywhere and easy to find as its drunk from dusk until dawn!
Fresh, chilled green coconuts are common place in Esky carts on beaches, in towns and even road junctions. They are the perfect rehydration on a hot day, packed full of minerals and electrolytes and taste like tropical paradise. Once you have drunk the cool water inside go back to your seller! They will break it in two, create a scoop from the husk so you can enjoy the soft flesh inside. A snack and a drink all in one.
This is only the start of what is on offer. When you join us on our retreats in March, we will have time to enjoy the offerings of cafes and sodas. We will sip refresco and Pipa Fria from hammocks on the beach. Gallo Pinto breakfasts will fuel your days adventures and coffee is their to fuel the rest! If you havent booked your spot click the link below for all of the info!
See you in paradise!