Our Favorite Costa Rican Meal
When visiting Costa Rica, few visitors complain about the food. The most important part about the cuisine in Costa Rica is that it is fresh. Costa Rica is like one big farmer’s market, and the local Costa Rican’s have set the standards pretty high with what they consider fresh and tasty food.
One of those tasty dishes is what we consider the absolute best meal in Costa Rica. Before we go into this topic, let’s are clear that the tourism industry in Costa Rica, since its boom over the last two decades, has done an incredible job of teaching many of its locals how to be great chefs and cook different dishes and cuisines that are more suited for the tourism industry.
The dish we have in mind is a dish that is a 100% authentic Costa Rican dish that has the history and roots in Costa Rica that hasn’t been modified over the years to adapt to the fancy tourism industry but kept its somewhat secret ingredients among it’s the local cooks in a small corner of Costa Rica that is home to this delicious plate what will have you loving every bite.
The smaller corner of Costa Rica is an area that is different than the rest of the country. It has a different language, culture, and cuisine. This area was populated during the construction of the railway and the banana plantations’ production by many from the Caribbean islands and Jamaica, of whom were mostly of Afro-Caribbean descent.
With them came their language, culture, delicious cuisine, and one particular dish known as “rice and beans”.
While it might not sound like much, especially from a country that usually eats rice and beans every day, the Caribbean style “rice and beans” is totally different.
All of Costa Rica will eat their daily portion of “Arroz y frijoles,” but one thing for sure is that the first two words in English any Costa Rica learns is “rice and beans”. When said in English in Costa Rica, everyone automatically knows you are talking about the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, and the delicious dish, while only made by a few, is loved by every Costa Rican.
What’s the difference?
The main difference between your rice and beans that you find all over Costa Rica and the rice and beans you find in the Caribbean is the simple ingredient of what you find mostly in the Caribbean. The coconut. The rice and beans are made with coconut milk.
If you think it is that simple, it’s not. The coconut milk is just the main ingredient everyone knows, while the local afro-Caribbeans ad their famous Caribbean sauce to the rice and chicken.
You can find recipes online, but I’ve tried, and I accept I know chef, but they got something special going into that rice and beans when you eat it in the Caribbean. Maybe it’s just the sound of the ocean or the reggae music in the background, but one thing for sure is that if you get a chance to eat some rice and beans, you will experience authentic cuisine like no other in Costa Rica.
Can I get a drink with that?
You can not enjoy the famous rice and beans without the Caribbean’s most refreshing drink. This drink is called agua sapo, which is “toad water” and referred to as “hiel” locally.
Hiel is a mix of water, sugar cane, ginger, and lemon.
A plate of rice and beans will have you refreshed and ready for your next adventure in Costa Rica.