Whenever someone visits Costa Rica, it’s impossible for him to not become aware of the famous food “Gallo Pinto.” Gallo Pinto is a Costa Rican dish that you’ll find typically in every menu and the home of the locals. It’s a dish containing rice and beans and preferably eaten for breakfast, but you can eat it anytime you want.

Gallo Pinto, Comidas Tipicas, Costa Rica
Gallo Pinto, Comidas Tipicas, Costa Rica

Interesting Facts 

This typical meal comes with a great historical background. There are various interesting facts about this dish. Some are mentioned as follows.

  • The word Gallo Pinto is a Spanish word that translates to “spotted rooster” however it does not contain one. The name was given due to its speckled appearance as white rice against the black beans.
  • Gallo Pinto is a national dish of Costa Rica and is traditionally used in breakfast. However, you can still eat it anytime you like.
  • Gallo Pinto is a dish of both Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and both are neighboring countries.
  • As per history, the dish was invented in the 1930s in San Jose. However, Nicaragua claims that it’s their dish that was brought to Caribbean shoes through the African slaves far before it reached Costa Rica.
  • Costa Rica to claim the title of “Gallo Pinto” as their national dish, decided to 965 pounds of it in 2003. This made them enter in the Guinness book of world records for the most cooked amount of Gallo Pinto in one go.
  • In response to Costa Rica, Nicaragua decided to cook 1200 pounds of this dish and feed up to 9,000 people. The rivalry went till the year 2007 when Gallo Pinto was cooked in the biggest pot ever and was fed to over 22,000 people on September 17, 2007. That day is now known as the “Gallo Pinto” day.
  • As per its story, there was an owner of a small farm who wanted to host a dinner party. For several months, he was working on fattening up a spotted rooster so that it gets ready to eat at the dinner party he was about to have.

Gallo Pinto: Secret Recipe

There is no obvious recipe, as both the countries have their taste and preferences. However, as the basics are concerned, the recipe includes white rice, black beans, onion, pepper, coriander, salt, and other spices. Rice and beans are cooked separately but fired together once cooked including the rest of the ingredients. It is then optional to pair the dish. It’s commonly known to be paired up with fried eggs. However, it can also be paired up with bacon, Costa Rican cheese, sour cream, sweet plantain, scrambled eggs, and even tortillas.

Costa Rica uses one secret ingredient making it the secret recipe. The ingredient is called “Salsa Lizano.” It’s a light brown sauce, quite similar to Worcestershire in England but less spicy. You’ll find this ingredient in almost every household of Costa Rica and also in restaurants and cafes. The ingredient is said to give the national food, a delicious flavor, making it the perfect dish to serve.

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