6 Traditional Foods to Try in Costa Rica

Chicharones

Chicharones

Oh how to describe the heaven that is a Chicharone. In Costa Rica chicharones are almost only made of pork and come in two varieties; chicharones de conch and chicharones de carne (more about these below). You can find the best at your local butcher shop, but they sell out quick.

Chicharones de Conch – Like a pork rind that is fresh out the fryer and thicker.

Chicharones de Carne – A fresh fried piece of very thick bacon that is tender and soft. A personal Favorite.

Olla de Carne

Olla de Carne

Olla de carne is a beef based stew that is slow cooked with potatoes, carrots, yucca chayote, plantains, and wide variety of spices. This stew is served hot no matter what the temperature is and is considered a local hang over cure.

Arroz con Leche

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Arroz con Leche (rice with milk) is a very traditional desert in Costa Rica and is often served on holidays and at large family get gatherings. The rice is cooked in the milk along with other ingredients like sugar and cinnamon. The real secret is just the right amount of cinnamon.

Bocas

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Bocas are a mall dish served at bars that usually accompany a drink. Traditionally bocas were given out for free alongside a beer or drink and still are at more local working class establishment. Most tourist bars have turned the boca concept into a nice way to try multiple items off of the menu in an easy to eat fashion. Some typical bocas would be a black bean dip, chimichurri, soup (olla de carne), ceviche, etc.

Sopa de Mariscos

Sopa de Mariscos

Sopa de Mariscos is soup that is severed throughout Costa Rica but the best can be found on Costa Rica’s north pacific coast. The soup is a tomato-based seafood soup with a mix of clams, mussels, squid, fish, shrimp, vegetables and whatever else the chef might feel like throwing in. Every chef will make it a little different and a must for a true sea food lover..

Tamales

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Full disclosure, I am a tamale connoisseur and have some of the best tamales I have ever eat’n in Costa Rica but they can be hard to find. I always recommend checking the local farmers markets and asking at your hotel because there is often a local Tamalero (sells tamales) that makes his way around town a couple times a week.

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