Costa Rican Cuisine, and What Makes it Special

For example, every morning for breakfast, we eat what's called gallo pinto. It's a simple dish, just rice and beans sometimes spruced up with cheese or an egg. Just about every Costa Rican family starts their day with gallo pinto!

Soups and broths are also popular here in Tronadora. We make oya de carne ("pot of meat") every Sunday; it's a hearty broth with potatoes, corn, meat, plantains and yuca mixed in. If you're feeling adventurous, you might try sopa de mondongo (or tripe soup), which is a stew featuring vegetables and cow stomach.

There's one dish that really sticks with me, and it's called frito. There are a number of ways to prepare frito, but whether its a soup or a creamy salsa, the ingredients are always the same. Frito includes every part of the pig: the ears, snout, heart, liver, kidneys, jowl, tongue and feet are all diced and thrown into a huge pot to cook. I generally don't step out of my comfort zone when it comes to food, but I have to admit, my first time trying Frito was a pleasant surprise!

How did I feel when I tried it?:

Gallo pinto is a great way to start your day. In fact, some experts claim that Costa Rica's relatively high life-expectancy is partially attributable to this tradition. "Blue-zones" are regions of the world where people live much longer than the global average, and Costa Rica is home to one of these zones! However, it's worth noting that the diet is very carb heavy. We eat a lot of rice, bread, potatoes and other starchy foods. As a result, it isn't uncommon to find yourself in need of a quick nap after lunch.