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Like Costa Rican Food?

July 12th, 2006

Gallo PintoA LOT of folks do… including me. OKOKOK, I like foods from many places which is perhaps why I have to lean forward a bit to see my toes… but I digress.

A recent post to Costa Rica Eateries from Paul Mitchell povides a nice list of Costa Rica cookbooks for those who need their daily dose of something Costa Rican.

From Costa Rica Eateries…

For those of you who have visited Costa Rica and liked the food and would like to be able to prepare some of the dishes yourselves… Or for any of you who live in Costa Rica but maybe don’t go out to eat very often for budgetary or other reasons yet still like the local food…

…Here is a brief list of interesting cookbooks about costarrican cuisine. At least one of them explains a lot about fresh fruits and vegetables and how they are used in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica’s Best Dishes, by Dorotea; pub. Servicios Editoriales Cento America, S.A. (SECASA), San Pedro Montes de Oca, San José, Costa Rica; c. 1976.

This is the first cookbook I ever bought while travelling in Costa Rica on my first visit. Don’t know if it is still in print. A small, slim volume of a mere 84 pages, offers explanations of the most usual and popular dishes of the country plus explanations about the ones you would find on your plate if you were a tico. In english with a few color photos of the prepared dishes. A practical little book with clear instructions offering a basic introduction to tico foods.

Costa Rican Typical Foods, by Carmen de Musmani & Lupita de Weiler; Gráfica-Litho-Offset SA, Costa Rica, 1992.

Fifty some odd recipes with simple line illustrations and a usefull glossary of terms to help you get started. Another useful, easy-to-follow collection of practical and popular tico recipes. Should be available in larger bookstores like Librería Lehmann in San José centro.
Sixty-three pages, in english.

My Kitchen – Typical Recipes, by Nelly Urbina Castro; Diseño 7 Procucción Gráfica SA, 5th ed., 2003.

An ambitious, well-conceived cookbook with conversions for both measurements and oven temperatures (F. and C.). It includes an extensive glossary and index plus the recipes are categorized by type: Desserts, Drinks, etc. Contains many interesting recipes beyond basic everyday fare, but nothing overly convoluted.
In english, 161 pages. Also published in a spanish edition.

Sabor!: A Guide to Tropical Fruits and Vegetables and Central American Foods, by Carolina Avila and Marilyn Root; Publicaciones de Las Américas S.S., Grecia, Alajulea, Costa Rica; 1997.

A wonderful book with clear line drawings and plentiful explanations of the fresh ingredients (fruits and veggies) that you will encounter in Costa Rica (and Central America), plus how to use them along with lots of recipes. This book is very thorough, including a section on meats, the cuts and their names in central america. Also offers an extensive bilingual list of food and cooking terms in english with the spanish translation next to it. Has oven temps and mesaurement coversions, as well. I highly recommend this cookbook. And it’s a fun ‘read’, too. Buy several copies to bring home as souveniers/gifts for your friends. (You’ll wish you had if you don’t.) In english, 218 pages.

12 Responses to “Like Costa Rican Food?”

  1. Patty on May 9, 2007 11:38 am

    I am moving to Tamarindo, Costa Rica and I wanted to purchase Vonage to keep in touch with my family and friends. Do you know anything about this? Anything would help!

    Thank you in advance!!!

  2. Tim on May 9, 2007 2:02 pm

    Vonage will soon be out of business and works poorly here. Go with Skype

    Also, please ask your question only once.

  3. lola on November 8, 2007 8:11 pm

    i was wondering if there was a certain food costa ricans made for a certain celebration?

  4. Barbara Greek on November 11, 2007 8:23 pm

    My daughter just returned from a Costa Rican vacation and asked for a Costa Rica cookbook. Can’t find any locally or on Amazon. She wanted a chicken and rice and beans recipe and one for plantains – I would guess fried. Thanks

  5. Tim on November 12, 2007 7:55 am

    You will find a couple you can buy here:


    On the left side, choose category Costa Rica Cooking

    You can also buy Salsa Lizano, a staple in Costa Rica cooking plus
    other stuff.

  6. bob castellani on December 10, 2007 10:39 am

    where can i buy costa rican christmas tamales on line.—thank you

  7. Kenny chesney on January 2, 2008 8:25 am

    Im doing a project on costa rica and i need some really good information if anybody has any sites they would like to share i would love that!!! and also i have to cook a food to go with it does anyone have any yummy costa rican recipes that are pretty simple or any ideas!!!! thanks for ur help

  8. allison on March 28, 2008 9:32 pm

    Hi, I was wondering what the most popular beverages and soups are in Costa Rica. ?? It would be great if you could please reply with the dish in English and Spanish. Thanks!

  9. Tim on March 31, 2008 10:45 am

    You can see various available cookbooks here:

  10. Tina on May 26, 2009 11:50 am

    here is a recipe

    Visitors to Costa Rica sometimes comment that the food isn’t very exciting. On the tourist trail, it is easy to get the impression that Tico cuisine is rather unimaginative and nondescript, in part due to the ubiquity of gallo pinto. Rice and black beans cooked together with barely a hint of onion, red pepper, cilantro and broth create the de facto national dish. The recipe below is a very tasty dish, usually served with fish and beans.

    Arroz Tico

    2-4 sprigs cilantro (coriander leaf) fresh or frozen, not dried!
    ½ small or medium onion
    ½ small red or yellow sweet pepper (optional)
    3 cups (700 ml) chicken broth or water
    2 cups (350 ml) white rice
    ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt

    Chop cilantro, onion, and sweet pepper very fine.

    Add 1 Tablespoon oil to a large pan and sauté the dry rice for 2 minutes over medium high flame then add the chopped onion, sweet pepper and cilantro and sauté another 2 minutes. Add water or chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (20-35 minutes). This is also the recipe for Tico rice used in favorites like tamales and Gallo Pinto.

  11. Betsy on December 22, 2010 12:38 pm

    Hi There

    I just came back from a whirlwind tour of Costa Rica and each place we stayed gave us recipes. Looking to see what “Royal” is, some of my recipes call for a couple of teaspoons. Also, does anyone know if instant masa can be used in the same way? Thanks!

  12. Lisa on February 25, 2011 2:21 pm

    Royal is Baking Powder.

    To everyone: I just started blogging recipes from my Costa Rican Mother’s kitchen. She is an amazing cook- old fashion, from the farm. I lived with this family in 1995 and we are close friends ever since.

    Please do stop by and leave a comment! I would love to hear from you.