5 Traditional Costa Rican Foods to Savor


Eating is a way to travel the world without having to leave the comfort of your home town. Exploring new cultures and food is a great way to expand your horizons.

And if you’re trying to try the best food the world has to offer, Costa Rican food should be one of your top priorities.

Whether you’re traveling to Costa Rica or finding local haunts, there is so much that Costa Rican food has to offer. The unique culinary culture provides meals that are rich, refreshing, and delicious.

Read on, and we’ll walk you through five foods you must try out.

1. Gallo Pinto

Plate of Gallo Pinto eggs and toast
Gallo Pinto

One of the most popular Costa Rican meals is also one of the best. Gallo Pinto means ‘painted rooster,’ but refers to a rice-and-beans mixture that is commonly considered the national dish of Costa Rica.

Locals actually sometimes eat the meal for breakfast, combining it with scrambled or fried eggs. But it is often enjoyed without eggs at any time of the day.

The true Costa Rica Gallo Pinto dish is extremely flavorful. You should keep that in mind when trying to find a local representation near home or if you’re attempting to make it yourself. And whatever you do, don’t forget the Salsa Lizano!

2. Olla De Carne


Olla De Carne is a quintessential dish that is a favorite throughout Costa Rica. It’s a popular dish made at home and often served in diners around the country.

Olla De Carne is similar to hearty meat stews found around America. Typically it’s made with a mixture of cassava, carrots, corn, plantains, and other vegetables.

Often it’s served with a side of rice and beans, despite being quite filling on its own.

3. Casado


Casado is the most popular mid-day meal throughout Costa Rica.

Casada refers to a combination platter that brings rice and beans together with some sort of green or pasta salad. Plantains are also served and sometimes meat or fish.

Often a Casado platter is often combined with a side of avocado or fries. This is a dish that has a wide variety of options in terms of how it’s presented.

That helps it remain a lunch favorite.

4. Ceviche

Ceviche served in a glass cup
Costa Rican Ceviche

Ceviches are popular in more countries than Costa Rica, but the country has a specific and delicious take on the popular marinated fish dish.

The Costa Rican version often features tilapia, diced vegetables, lime juice, and cilantro.

Ceviche is particularly popular in the more coastal regions of the country. It can found in roadside food carts just as easily as it is in diners and restaurants.

5. Chifrijo

Bowl of Chifrijo on wooden table

When it comes to snack foods, there is no better Costa Rican snack then the chifrijo.

The dish takes the form of a delicious layered cake that contains beans, rice, pork, and tomato.

Though seen as a snack food, the treat can be quite filling enough on its own. It’s often served on a hearty corn tortilla.

The Best Costa Rican Food

There’s nothing that can hit the spot better than Costa Rican food. The above selections are just a taste of what the country has to offer.

Need more Latin food recommendations? Check out our blog for more.

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