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Authentic Costa Rican Food


While reading a recent BBC Travel News Article about authentic ethnic food in America, I realized I have yet to write a feature about the authentic ethnic foods of Costa Rica!  While Costa Rican cuisine is not likely to be listed on any world foods top 10 list, it is delicious in its own simple little right.  I say this because many travelers expecting all Latin American countries to serve spicy, flavorful dishes are often disappointed by the simple (and dare I say bland) food that can often be found in Costa Rica.  However, with expectations aside and my dining tips you can have a delicious time on your tour of Costa Rica by car hire.

Don't Eat Gallo Pinto at Your Hotel

If you find yourself at a big hotel near the San Jose Airport in Costa Rica, where everything is likely done on a huge scale to feed dozens or even hundreds of guests my advice is to skip the gallo pinto and go for the fruit, yogurt, and breads.  The traditional breakfast dish of Costa Ricans, gallo pinto consists of black beans and white rice heated together in a pan with oil, garlic, sweet peppers, cilantro, celery, onion, and a little salt.  When made right it's delicious  In bigger places you're lucky if even has garlic.  I've seen many a sad serving of oily beans and rice called gallo pinto.  Order your gallo pinto from a soda (small cafe), B&B, or a nice ecolodge such as Finca Luna Nueva (who made some of my all time favorite gallo pinto).

Sopa Negra (Black Soup)

My personal favorite of the Costa Rican dishes, this hearty stand-by can only be had fresh when your tour by car hire passes by a place that has just cooked a fresh pot of black beans.  A hearty style of black bean soup, sopa negra consists of the water the beans were cooked in (which is flavored with cilantro and salt and maybe other spices), black beans, white rice, tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, and a boiled egg.  Some restaurants will crack and drop your egg into the boiling soup for a very beautifully displayed boiled egg floating atop your soup.

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