Casado literally means “married man”, because casado is a typical Costa Rican meal that married men would eat at home. You don’t have to beg a local though to invite you into their home to enjoy this meal. These typical meals can be found at any Costa Rican “soda” (small restaurants). The meals usual consist of white rice, meat, black beans, plantains, salad, and tortillas. Makes sure the tortillas are corn to ensure it’s gluten free.
Juice I enjoyed in Manuel Antonio
Jugos Naturales (Fruit Juices)
I wish I could go back to Costa Rica just for the juices. Well juices and all the adventures. I could not believe how incredibly fresh, delicious, and fun the juices were. There are so many to choose from, including passion fruit (maracuya), papaya, mango, guanabana (soursap), pineapple (pina), and they were all incredible.
Shaved us on the beach in Manuel Antonio
Coconut Water or Shaved Ice on the Beach
While relaxing at the beach I ordered shaved ice from a cart vendor and was amazed at the extra thing that he added, powdered milk. He saw I was a weirded out and he said that it was delicious and would make me strong like Popeye. He wasn’t wrong, it was delicious, but I’m still waiting for my Popeye muscles. If shaved ice is too sweet for you, there is always the cliché coconut water straight from the coconut. Cliché? Perhaps. Deliciously refreshing? Totally.
Plantains stuffed with cheese
Plantains Con Queso
Plantains with cheese may seem strange, but it’s totally rad. The semi-sweetness with the melty gooey cheese was a hit and a must try when in Costa Rica.
Tamale I enjoyed at a small gift shop/cafe between La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio
I went to Costa Rica right before Christmas and it’s a tradition to have tamales around this time. From my understanding, and my continual attendance of Hispanic Christmas parties, it’s a tradition in the Latino culture. I don’t know exactly the origin, but I’m very thankful for it. Tamales are made with maiz (corn) and stuffed with a cheese or meat. Wherever I found tamales, typically at a small food stall at a rest stop, I would order a bunch and devour half the bunch, then offer the other half to my bus mates. They were very thankful too.
Seafood dinner on the beach in Manuel Antonio
If you’re on either coast of Costa Rica, order seafood! It was delicious, fresh, and well cooked. My go to while in Manuel Antonio was to order the seafood rice, filled with shrimps, scallops, crab, and calamari. I was in seafood heaven. And in a food coma after.
Flan by the sea? Yes please!
Flan is a sweet custard dessert with a soft layer of caramel on top. It’s an easy gluten free dessert to find in Costa Rica, great for gluten free travelers looking to satisfy their sweet tooth without having to turn ice cream, again.
Coffee being processed
Coffee is grown in this region and Costa Rican’s are serious about growing and making great coffee. The love and dedication for great coffee showed and every cup I had was better than the last. Good luck trying to go back to Starbucks coffee.
Chocolate and cocoa beans
Something Costa Rican’s are more serious about than coffee is chocolate. They take great pride in growing and creating incredible chocolate. You can even do a chocolate tour where you get to experience the passion of the creators first hand, and of course sample the chocolates.
Photo from Flickr.com
You probably think this is a joke, but it's not. The ketchup is delicious in Costa Rica. I'm not a big French fries person, but when I tasted it with the ketchup, I ate my entire plate of fries. Their ketchup tastes "unprocessed", fresh, and natural. I fell in love with it so much that I brought two bottles home so I could enjoy it with my burgers. After you taste it for yourself, you might do the same.