A typical breakfast in Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto and a cafe chorreado.
Gallo Pinto (literally translated ‘Spotted Rooster’) has anything to do with its ingredients though since they are basically white rice and black beans. Yes, rice and beans for breakfast! This national dish can be made in different ways but it is usually prepared with onions, red peppers, cilantro and the not-to-be-missed ingredient: Salsa Lizano.
Sala Lizano is a Costa Rican condiment developed in 1920 by the Lizano Company. It is now a product of Unilever. It is a thin, smooth, light brown sauce (akin to such condiments as HP Sauce). It is meant to be used while cooking or at tableside to flavour one’s food when serving. It is slightly sweet with a hint of spiciness lent by black pepper and cumin.
Cafe chorreado is basically a drip coffee. The best chorreado is by the traditional way, a wooden stand, a piece of cotton as a filter, medium ground coffee and hot water. The amount of water poured will determine the strength.
But, across the big pond*, in Rome breakfast is completely different. Thanks to my cousin Patricia, who is currently touring Italy, here is a photo of what Italians eat in the morning: Salami (or capicollo) ham and cheese, fruits, bread and of course an espresso.
North Americans have their buffet.
In Italy, some hotels and restaurants don’t have menus, they just serve you food. And then some.
In Costa Rica, although a soda (small restaurant) will have a menu, if you do decide to order breakfast from the menu, most don’t, it will be some form of Gallo Pinto.
Being a foreigner living in Costa Rica, I get the best of all three, a combination of tastes and traditions.
* “Across the Big Pond” is commonly a reference to the Atlantic Ocean, meaning Europe being across from the Americas separated by the ocean.