Costa Rican Native Food


Sodas are small restaurants where you can get inexpensive snacks and light meals. They line the streets of San Jose and fill the Mercado Central. These are some of the foods you'll run across at sodas or at the Fiesta de Maiz in La Garita

arreglados : sandwiches, usually made of meat, on a tasty but greasy bun.

arroz con polio : rice with chicken and vegetables.

cajeta de coco: delicious fudge made of coconut, tapa dulce and orange peel.

casado : a plate of rice, black beans, cabbage and tomato salad, meat or egg, picadillo, and sometimes fried plantains.

ceviche : raw seabass cured in lemon juice with culantro (chinese parsley) and onions. Delicious.

chorreados : corn pancakes, sometimes served with natilla.

cono capuchino : an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate. A Pop's delicacy.

dulce de leche : a thick syrup made of milk and sugar.

elote asado : roasted corn on the cob.

elote cocinado : boiled corn on the cob.

empanadas : corn turnovers filled with beans, cheese, or potatoes and meat.

gallos : meat, beans or cheese stuck between two tortillas.

gallo pinto : the national breakfast dish of rice and beans fried together.

guiso de maiz : fresh corn stew.

horchata : a sweet drink made of corn and cinnamon.

masamorra : corn pudding.

melcochas : candies made from raw sugar.

milanes and tapitas : small, foil-wrapped, pure chocolate candies, available in comer stores and restaurants all over the country. Beware: these delicious little things are addictive.

natilla : sour cream, often more liquid than northern sour cream.

olla de carne : literally "pot of meat", but actually a meat soup featuring large pieces of chayote (a green, pear-shaped vegetable that grows on vines), ayote (a pumpkin-like squash), yuca, platano, etc.

palomitas de maiz : "little doves". Popcorn

pan de maiz : a thick, sweet bread made with fresh corn.

pan box : a dark, sweet bread with batter designs on top. A Limon specialty.

patacones : fried, mashed green plantains, served like french fries with meals on the Atlantic coast.

pad . flour-based empanadas filled with fruit or spicy meat, sold on the Atlantic coast.

picadillo : a side dish of fried vegetables, which often contains meat.

platanos : plantains. They look like large bananas, but cannot be eaten raw. Sweet and delicious when fried or baked . Also sold like potato chips. A Central American staple.

queque seco: pound cake.

refrescos : cold fruit drinks. Most refrescos are made with a lot of sugar. If you order a refresco that is not made in advance, like papaya en agua , papaya en leche , or jugo de zanahoria (carrot juice), you can ask for it sin azucar (without sugar) and add your own to taste. Similarly an ensalada de frulas (fruit salad) might come smothered in jello and ice cream. You can ask for it sin gelatina , sin helados .

sopa de mondongo : tripe soup.

sopa negra : soup made from bean gravy, with hard-boiled egg and vegetables added.

tacos : a bit of meat topped with cabbage and tomato salad.

tamales : cornmeal usually stuffed with pork or chicken, wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. A Christmas tradition.

tamal asado : a sweet cornmeal cake.

tamal de elote : sweet corn tamales, wrapped in corn-husks.

tapa duke : native brown sugar, sold in a solid form that looks like an inverted flower pot. It's grated with a knife or boiled to make syrup from which is made agua duke, a popular campesino drink.

torta chilena : a many-layered cake filled with dulce de leche .

tortas : sandwiches on a bread roll.

tortilla de queso : a large, thick tortilla with cheese mixed into the dough.

tortilla : may mean the Costa Rican thin, small, corn tortilla, but also another name for an omelette. yuca : manioc, a thick tuber, another staple of the Central American diet. Enyucados are empanadas made from a yucabased dough.

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