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Monday, December 21, 2009

Eating my way across Costa Rica

Examiner.com: Holiday home cooking without the home cooking

With avocado trees growing everywhere, you know this guacamole is fresh. Served with baked tortilla chips.

If I were going to start another blog, I'd call it "Eating My Way Around the World." It seems like both my conversations and travels always revolve around food -- what to eat, when to eat, where to eat and how to get the most and best food on a budget.

Breakfast: Arroz con frijoles, fried plantains, fresh watermelon and, of course, PB toast. ;) My sister had the biggest banana on her plate!

That's one of the best things about traveling: trying new cuisines and interesting foods. Before moving to Korea last year, I'd only eaten Korean food twice. A whole new world opened up once I got to Seoul.

There's something extra-refreshing about a Fanta -- or Miranda -- after a long hike through the rainforest.

Even within a cuisine, there are variations between countries. The quest for good Mexican food outside of North America is all-consuming -- and difficult! -- and has been made on three continents. The same is true for Indian curry, at its prime on London's Brick Lane but with passable alternatives around the globe.

Freshly-caught mahi-mahi tacos, black beans and hot sauce.

Costa Rican food is similar to Mexican but less spicy, with the ubiquitous bottle of smoky Linzano salsa on every table.

Lonely Planet called this sangria the best in Costa Rica. With huge chunks of banana, peach and other fruits mixed in, I agree!

Often the cheapest meal on Tico menus is a casado, the supposed "ideal" meal for a married man, comprised of a meat or fish, pico de gallo, white rice, black beans, fried plantains and a small salad.

Un casado tipico

Vegetarian food is easy to find throughout Costa Rica, as arroz con frijoles (rice with beans) is eaten by many people at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, almost every restaurant offered a hearty un casado vegetariano.

Un casado vegetariano: broccoli, cauliflower, corn-on-the-cob, white rice, black beans, fried plantains and salad.

I'll usually try anything once. Hiking in Belize last year, the guide pulled down a stick covered in termites and asked who would try one. My dad and I were the only ones from our group to volunteer and you know what? It wasn't half-bad! Not something I'd eat every day but certainly nothing exceptionally gross.

Un casado vegetariano, this time with baked potato.

Do you like trying new foods when you're traveling?

Absolutely amazing homemade banana pancakes at our B&B in Quepos.