comida tipica

Posted by susan on December 16th, 2009. Filed under: epicurious travel, getaways.

While I knew that tourism thrived in Costa Rica, I never realized how big a role it would play in our trip. When it came to the food, oftentimes we found ourselves enticed with hamburgers and lasagna by a menu that had only a tiny little section for comida tipica – which is what you’d call a typical Costa Rican dish, usually comprised of beans, rice, a salad, a meat and of course, a tortilla.

comida tipica

Every chance we got, we ordered from this section of the menu. In fact, realizing that it was such a small part of the more touristy locations of Costa Rica actually pushed us to explore a bit more. One night we decided to take a cab into the town of La Fortuna to experience Costa Rica on a more personal level. Per the advice of our taxi driver, who was nice enough to humor me by communicating entirely in Spanish, we went to La Choza de Laurel.

At first glance I was disappointed because I had thought I explained that we weren’t looking for comida international but rather comida tipica. The fact that this place served both made me skeptical.

However, it might have been the best meal I had during our entire trip.

comida tipica

Per the habit I developed over the week, I also ordered an Imperial, the national beer.

imperial beer

Mike had a volcano explosion for dinner [enter tourism], which unfortunately did not mimic the Arenal Volcano when we went to visit it one night. It was beautiful either way – it being interchangeable with the actual volcano and the below meal, of which I stole a bite.

menu tipica

In Costa Rica, there was no doubt where our food was coming from and that the ingredients were fresh. One day I saw a man walking toward the beach with a pineapple and about twenty minutes later, as I sat down to a Pina Colada, I wondered if the slice adorning my fancy drink was from the same fruit. And, from time to time we’d see a bunch of bananas hung in a convenient place, poised to be plucked for a meal.

bananas in costa rica

We sought culture in our meals, even though many of them were juxtaposed with a tourist flare and decorated with an attempt at an American-like dish.

There was one point where we assumed we had completely sold out while ordering nachos from the menu at our hotel in Manuel Antonio.

nachos

Even so, there was no doubt that touches of Costa Rica were sprinkled on top with bits of tomato and grounded at the bottom with fresh black beans.

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