Gallo Pinto: The Traditional Costa Rican Way to Serve Rice and Beans


Costa Rica

10° 28′ 24.6828″ N84° 1′ 0.2712″ W

Sun, 03/03/2013 – 12:11am
gallo pinto
You may have had rice and beans before, but you have probably not had them like this! Gallo Pinto is a typical Costa Rican breakfast food. Rice and beans may not sound delicious in the morning, but when they are served in the style of Gallo Pinto, I can eat them as early as 7am!

Gallo means that it is a mixture of something, in this case of beans and rice. There are many gallos. You have probably seen pico de gallo, a mix of onions and tomatoes on a piece of lettuce, when you have eaten at a Mexican food restaurant. If you are like I was when I was your age, you probably didn’t want to eat it. I never liked tomatoes until I was in high school. Did you know that the tomatoes in Costa Rica are ten times better than they are in the United States? Que rico! (How good-tasting!) I think it is because the climate here is different and that changes the taste of the tomato, for the better thankfully!

What food did I try?:

Gallo Pinto, the traditional Costa Rican way to make rice and beans. It is usually served as a breakfast food. I don’t know about you, but I had never craved rice and beans early in the morning until I came to Costa Rica. My Mama Tica usually doesn’t serve Gallo Pinto every day. We eat a big bowl of fruit, but most of the other host families here prefer to eat Gallo Pinto every day for breakfast. My Mama Tica likes to make it on Sundays after church as a special Sunday brunch.

How did I feel when I tried it?:

I loved it! In Texas, all of our hispanic food is Mexican food. The beans are always refried and the rice is always flavored as what we just call “Mexican Rice”. Here, the beans are black beans and the rice is white rice. The flavors of the chiles dulces and the cilantro mix very well together as a brunch type food!

How is the food prepared?:

cebolla onion
chile dulce (you can use red bell pepper)
arroz rice
frijoles negros black beans
culantro cilantro

1: Put onion and chile dulce (“sweet chile”; it is a red bell pepper but here, it has a sort of sweeter taste) in a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil to cook.
2: Cook rice separately on the oven top or in the microwave with water.
3: Cook beans separately on the oven top.
*You want to make more rice than beans.*
4: Add the rice and beans to the onions and chiles dulces to heat.
5: Turn the heat off and add cilantro and salsa last.
*Make sure to mix it up well with a spatchula!*
6: Disfrute! Enjoy!

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?:

Rice and beans are generally staple foods in most Latin American countries. A staple food is a food that is very common and is eaten every day. And sometimes, with every meal! Rice and beans are easy and cheap to grow to feed a lot of people. I am lucky because my host mom does not make rice and beans for every single meal like other families in Costa Rica. If I ate rice and beans three times a day, everyday, I would quickly get sick of them both no matter how delicious Gallo Pinto is!

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