Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – Food and Dining


Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – Food and Dining
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Alaiza Dominguez – Costa Rica 2015 – Food and Dining


Alaiza Dominguez

Costa Rica has so much to offer, especially when it comes to food. Between pizza slices bigger than my head and a host mother who insisted on me carrying empanadas out the door- I was never hungry in Costa Rica. Every dining experience was incredible and nothing in the states can really compare. Despite being Hispanic and living in a household that’s constantly full of good meals, I started to miss my host mother’s cooking before we even made it to the airport.

Everything is different. Even Pizza Hut was different. I’ve never been a fan of pepperoni, so to be in a place where the most popular pizza topping is ham was a delight. One really memorable meal I had was Space Pizza. At Space Pizza I received a slice of pizza that was nearly the length of my torso for the price of what I’d pay for a can of soda in the states. If that’s not shocking enough- I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I told myself I was going to avoid American food while studying abroad but there was no way I could resist ham and cheese pizza.

I tried plenty of new things as well as things I’ve had before in a different style. Growing up I had plenty of fried bologna sandwiches but I never would have imagined that one day I’d be eating fried bologna and cheese wrapped in a tortilla for breakfast and washing it down with a chocolate milkshake. But that was a typical morning. Other home meals included toast with guava jam, the best bean dip I’ve ever had, and black bean empanadas. The empanadas were my favorite.

An interesting dish I tried was black bean soup. It’s pretty popular in Costa Rica and everyone makes it a different way. The first bowl I had consisted of no actual black beans, tripe, and an egg. At first I was a little confused, especially when I tasted it and it tasted like black beans. But it was delicious and I’m happy I tried it. The rest of the black bean soups I had included solid beans rather than just bean juice.

There’s definitely a trend here. Black beans. Black beans are everywhere and I love it. In soup, in empanadas, mixed with rice, cooked with onions, and as dip- you can’t go wrong with black beans.


ML@FLCC Costa Rica
2015 Flickr Gallery

I can’t talk about food in Costa Rica without mentioning casados. With a type of meat, rice, beans, salad, and sometimes more all on one plate- a casado is the perfect choice for someone who is hungry and wants a little bit of everything. My personal favorite was a chicken casado from a nice restaurant close to la basilica in Cartago.

I loved my host mother’s cooking but dining out never failed me either. I visited plenty of small places in Alajuela, a couple of cafes, and other restaurants during our travels and not one seemed to disappoint. Many places had the same food titles but prepared the meals very differently. It was nice to try so many new things.

One thing I really miss about Costa Rica is the fresh fruit. I had fruit at least once every day while traveling and it was the most delicious fruit I’ve ever had. Except for one. I tried guanavana and it’s probably the only thing I didn’t enjoy. I don’t know what it is but something about it just didn’t pass my taste test. But everything else was good it made up for that. Especially manzanas de agua and coconut. Strawberries were everywhere too and they were so sweet.

I feel very lucky to have been exposed to so many new things. In the past, I never would have considered trying some of the things I did but ever since I gave it a chance I’ve continued the pattern at home. I love trying new things now and it’s all thanks to how much traveling opened my eyes. Who would have thought that tasting new food would open so many doors.

Alaiza Dominguez
LEAF Contributor