Central America offers an assortment of tasty cuisine and each country has its own specialities. A lot of people assume that food in Central America is very hot and spicy but this is not usually the case though various chilli sauces are often available on the table so that you can spice up your food as desired. Most Central American meals come with corn tortillas and sometimes salad, but often lack hot vegetables. Other common sides are rice, beans and sweet fried plantain. Plantains are very popular, served with many main courses and bananas are also commonly used for dessert, topped with sugar or condensed milk.
In larger towns and cities, you'll often find a good variety of international restaurants thanks to the large numbers of ex-pats living in Costa Rica. It's often possible to get very inexpensive set meals for lunch because it is the main meal of the day in Central America.
The national dish of Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto - fried rice and black beans which is commonly served for breakfast or for lunch with meat, cabbage and tomato salad. Similar ingredients are utilised in the dish known as casado - rice, black beans, plantains and salad served with a tortilla. On the Caribbean coast it's made in coconut milk which is particularly tasty. Black bean soup is also very popular in Costa Rica and sometimes served with a hard-boiled egg.
Safe eating while travelling in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is by far the most developed country in Central America and has a huge number of expats living there. As a consequence, food hygiene standards are much higher than in other countries in the region and the chances of eating something that will make you sick are low. Nonetheless, take proper precautions, as you would anywhere in the world, when eating in cheaper establishments, like gas stations, or buying food from street stalls.