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In and around San Jose and in the tourist towns you will be able to get a variety of international foods, especially in the more expensive restaurants. For most people in Costa Rica the cuisine is not varied and consists mostly of a basis of rice and black beans and a variety of side dishes. Fortunately they themselves are not aware of this and they will, during meals, talk endlessly about how good the beans were at so and so' s house or how delicious the rice was. So, don't get your hopes up. The culinary highlight for many visitors is eating tropical fruit that is really ripe and how different that is from what we are used to from the supermarket-ripened fruit. Many varieties of bananas and mangos and other tropical fruits do not travel well and you will only get to eat them locally. Here they all are, all with their own distinct flavor. To give you an idea of what a typical day of eating in Costa Rica is:


Most of the locals will have gallo pinto for breakfast. The name means "spotted rooster" but there usually is no rooster involved. Using the leftover rice from last night's dinner they mix it with black beans, cilantro, salt, onions, and sometimes carrots, garlic or cabbage. This is usually accompanied by a slice of cheese an omelet and some tortillas or bread and sometimes fried plantains.


Many business take an hour or an hour and a half break and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. The usual meal for lunch is a casado. The name means "married". The basis of this meal is rice, black beans, meat, cabbage and tomato salad, pickles, fried plantains and fried eggs.


There is usually more variety during dinner: arroz con pollo and olla de carne. Arroz con pollo is rice and chicken with vegetables. Olla de carne is a meat soup accompanied by rice and vegetables. It is usually prepared on Sunday or for large gatherings.


You will find a bewildering variety of fruit drinks. They are either mixed with water or with milk. They are called batidos, frescos, or naturales