Each “cheat day” I have enjoyed in 2016 has outdone the previous one. This is largely, because I have spent each one in Costa Rica. In a previous post, I described and listed the healthier food options in this country, but since writing that one, I gained expertise regarding the more indulgent food options here. Turns out, Costa Rica has some awesome cheap food that is available on nearly every street corner of every town with a Catholic church and Futbol/Soccer field. It is also home to sauces that you just do not find in the USA. As a sequel to the previous post, “La Comida,” here is a list of the less healthy Costa Rican foods I have particularly enjoyed.
1. Salsa Lizano—Words fail to aptly describe this wonderfully smooth, all-purpose savory sauce. Salsa Lizano is the unofficial national sauce of Costa Rica and goes perfectly with pretty much everything other than ice cream and cereal. It is to A1 what Jamie Foxx is to Kevin Hart—one is far more complete. It has a smooth tangy taste that remains the same throughout each bite (or sip:-)). The active ingredient in Gallo Pinto (see previous, “La Comida”), it makes or breaks numerous meals that would otherwise be unmemorable.
I am not the only one holding this sacred sauce in high regard. Last fall, Katy Perry toured through Costa Rica and tweeted about her discovery of Salsa Lizano (see below).
I gave a few people I really like the gift of Salsa Lizano for Christmas. I expect them to thank me for years to come.
2. Heladerias—Consistent with other open air establishments, Costa Rica has door-less ice cream shops everywhere. The cost of living here is similar to that of the USA, but is lower when it comes to ice cream. The standard menu of desserts at places such as the one pictured below usually includes items, which would require 30 minutes of preparation and $10 at similar places in the USA. On Saturday, I got a sundae cone with three different ice cream flavors, hot fudge, sprinkles, and pirouette rolled wafers all in a large cone for $2.50. I’m going back next weekend. Pura effing Vida!
3. Rumbas—The corn-tortilla chip to end all other types of chips. Previous to discovering these, I held that all tortilla chips were better served with dip. Ignorantly, I thought all of planet Earth’s tortilla chips were merely conduits through which dip is eaten. Rumbas are sufficient by themselves and are merely supplemented with dip. Dip plays second fiddle when paired with these. They have perfectly balanced, not-too-salty taste. I look for excuses to pair them with all other foods. Makers and distributors of Rumba chips are doing the world and their yearly earnings a disservice by not expanding globally. Rumbas!
4. Panaderias–User-friendly bakeries paired with mini-food markets are as prevalent in Costa Rica as breathtaking vistas. What’s more, most of these places make their pastries and baked goods daily. Whether you want a savory empanada or a sweet, chocolate-filled treat, you can find it nearby at a local panaderia.
In closing, I am far more satisfied with my understanding of this place after having gained knowledge of the above. When I visit here in the future, I am sure to plan my cheat days around indulging in these foods.