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Traditional San José Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to San José is complete without tasting the traditional San José food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in San José to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Enyucados: yucca, eggs, butter, flour, oil, salt and coriander.
  • Ceviche Costa Rica: marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, cilantro and finely minced peppers.
  • Chimichurri: tomatoes and onions pickled in lime juice.
  • Chorreadas: corn pancakes.
  • Costa Rican Marinade: lime peel, lime juice, tomato juice, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper, oil, garlic.
  • Patacones or maduro: fried plantains.
  • Stuffed Chayotes: Chayotes, breadcrumbs, Munster cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, butter, salt and pepper.



  • Ensalada Palmito: palm tree heart, lettuce leaves, lime juice, salt, black pepper.
  • Russian Salad: a salad made with beets, potatoes, hard boiled eggs and mayo.

Main courses

  • Arroz con Pollo: rice with chicken.
  • Casado: rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and an entree of choice that may include chicken, beef, pork, and others.
  • Chifrijo: beans with broth, rice, chopped cracklings, Pico de gallo, tortillitas cut into triangular shape and fried, spices.
  • El Vinagre Chilera: bananas, chile peppers, carrots, onions, sweet peppers, Cauliflower head, green beans, guaro.
  • Frijoles Negros: black beans.
  • Gallo Pinto: a mix of rice and beans fried together.
  • Tico Rice: white rice, cilantro, onion, sweet pepper, chicken broth or water, salt.
  • Vigorón: (cabbage, chimichurri, yucca, served with a slice of lime.


Fast food

  • Gallos: tortillas filled with meat, cheese or beans.
  • Tamales: masa (a starchy dough, usually corn-based), which is steamed or boiled in plantain leaves.

Street food

  • Arreglados: small sandwiches filled with meat.
  • Costa Rican empanadas: pastries filled with seasoned meats (pork, beef or chicken) or cheese, beans, and cubed potato stew.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

  • Agua dulce: sweet water made from tapa de dulce.
  • Granizado: a slush drink made of finely shaved ice and flavored syrup.
  • Refrescos (frescos): liquefied fruits diluted in either water or milk and sweetened.

Drinks (Alcoholic)

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