What Is Costa Rican Food Like?

Costa Rican food consists of a simple diet based primarily on wholesome ingredients like rice and beans, meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Gallo Pinto

A typical dish for breakfast is "gallo pinto," a delicious mix of rice and black beans with cilantro and other spices. For lunch or dinner you will often find a dish called casado, a basic meal that consists of rice and beans, cabbage salad, a choice of meat (beef, chicken, pork or fish), fried plantains, and sometimes cheese.

Video: A Taste of Costa Rican Food

Arroz con Pollo

Another popular choice is "arroz con pollo," which translates as "rice with chicken" and includes vegetables and cilantro. You will find similar menus all over the country at restaurants or sodas, which generally serve low-cost home-style meals. Fruit like pineapple, mango, papaya, watermelon, guanábana, melon, and avocados are some of the best in the world.

Other Popular Dishes

Other popular dishes of typical Costa Rican food (comida típica) include:

  • Olla de Carne (beef soup with yucca).

  • Tamales (meat or vegetables in corn pastry).

  • Empanadas (fried pastry stuffed with meat, beans, or potatoes).

  • Ceviche (citrus-marinated seafood salad).

  • Arreglados (meat filled sandwiches).

  • Sopa negra (black bean soup).

  • Gallos (which are smaller tortillas filled with just about anything).


Natural juices or batidos are fruit smoothies mixed with water or milk. The most common flavors are pineapple, blackberry, mango, watermelon, papaya, cas, guanábana, passion fruit, tamarind, and melon.

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