International Food Recipes

Costa Rica - Costa Rican Recipes

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Hearts of Palm Salad
Costa Rican Tilapia
Costa Rican Marinade
Rice and Beans

rachael ray acai

The food in Costa Rica tends to be blander than Mexican food and usually is served with some kind of meat. Vegetarians will find a lot of meatless choices, but will have to ask for them or head to restaurants that specialize in vegetarian food.

Breakfast in Costa Rica can be as light as a small pastry or can be the American-style eggs and toast or even a stew-like mixture of rice and beans with a type of meat. Due to the international influence on Costa Rica, visitors will find every type of food found in other major international cities. From American fast food to spicy Mexican food to Italian to Chinese, the cities of Costa Rica have all the variety travelers desire.

The typical Costa Rican meal that is prepared in bulk and served for lunch or dinner is called the casado and usually includes rice, black bean, fried plantain (large banana), some type of meat and a type of vegetable.

Today, the biggest culinary influence probably comes from the tourism industry and the advent of more upscale hotels and inns that have brought professionally trained cooks into the country to prepare menus that may or may not have much to do with native traditions. This has the tendency to produce what we call culinary school menus, where the chef tries to reproduce what he was taught at Cordon Bleu, the Culinary Institute of America, or in a Las Vegas hotel kitchen. Thus, you have lots of "international" restuarants and menus with no particular attachment to time or place, except for the strictures imposed by ingredient availability.

If any treasure trove of culinary creativity exists in Costa Rica, it lies not in these hotel dining rooms or San Jose metro area restaurants, but in the home cooking (including the wealthy elite homes) and the Sodas (family-run roadside or market eateries). This is not to say that all Soda food is good or creative. A Casado is just a rustic worker's lunch at a cheap price, marrying together all the courses of a European meal in one place and on one plate--the salad, the starch, the main course.