Costa Rican Culinary Staple – Casado Breakdown

While the culinary variety of Costa Rica may not seem impressive, the range of flavors found on the typical Costa Rican plate is.


Casado, which literally means “married” in Spanish, is the popular and widespread plated meal that consists of five main components. Here, I’ll break this Costa Rican dish down:


Most sodas, which are the name for restaurants that serve casados, offer the option between beef, chicken and fish. While in most coastal towns I would suggest trying the grilled catch of the day, I would ask if any of the meats come con salsa or with sauce. I found that my favorite casados were the meats stewed in salsa and served with the flavorful sauce.

Black beans:

Casados are always served with a heaping pile of black beans, whether they are plain, cooked with vegetables such as onions and bell peppers, or refried.


The simple staple of every casado


By no means an impressive vegetable source, the salad accompanying casados ranges. What sometime is a simple iceberg lettuce salad can also be a crunchy mixed cabbage side with lemon juice.


The plantain cooking style is my biggest point of contention. In Costa Rica, there are two styles, of which you don’t normally get a choice. Patacones are smashed and then fried plantains with varying amounts of salt. The alternative style does not necessarily have a name beyond, “fried plantains,” but they are definitely my preference. Pan fried, this side dish comes out warm, soft, and perfectly sweet.


Jocelyn Reist

Jocelyn was a contributor for Jetset Times for a year, and has continued to travel around the world. Her stories are often about food, as she's an avid foodie (and knows SO MUCH about it!)

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