Gallo pinto… Costa Rica, c’mon now, that’s no respectable national dish!

Neil and I spent 3 months in Costa Rica in 2011 for a summer internship at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

While there we had lots of tasty food, but NONE of it was Costa Rican. (sorry, but, it’s true!) The national dish of Costa Rica is “gallo pinto” which is literally just rice & beans. Pretty much served plain, or next-day fried. That’s it!! Not exactly fine cuisine. This is an actual line from the Wikipedia entry on the dish: “The dish may contain more rice than beans, or more beans than rice. It could also contain equal amounts of beans and rice.”

But, I guess we should have known what we were getting into when the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, was sitting next to me on the plan ride there and advised us to “get out of San Jose, because it doesn’t have the best to offer.” That is the gospel truth.

1st class to San Jose
Sitting next to the first female president of Costa Rica in first class.

We took Laura’s advice and did go to a lovely cheese festival outside of San Jose that had all kinds of different Costa Rican cheeses.

Cheese Festival
Santa Cruz Feria Del Queso

But, culinary lackluster aside, this is really what Costa Rica has to offer, and it is sweet:

Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica


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