Once I first moved to Costa Rica 2 years in the past, I had little concept that being a vegetarian would make touring tough for me. Coming from India, the place 24% of the inhabitants is strictly vegetarian, having hassle discovering vegetarian meals was at least a shock to me.
Quick ahead to the current and I’m touring hassle-free and even having fun with Costa Rican meals. How did I do this? Properly, first, I needed to mix in with the native tradition and dishes, and second, I skilled myself with frequent Spanish phrases and phrases.
You’ll simply discover vegetarian dishes in fashionable vacationer areas however it’s tough to search out them at native sodas and eating places the place folks might not even perceive what sort of meals you need.
Veganism vs. Vegetarianism
Few folks know the idea of veganism and vegetarianism and the distinction between the 2. Some frequent responses that I get once I say “I’m a vegetarian!” are –
So you don’t eat eggs and cheese?
Oh, so that you don’t eat rooster.
What about fish? Do you eat that?
So, let’s perceive each phrases. A vegetarian doesn’t eat any animal flesh akin to meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. A vegan is a stricter vegetarian who, along with avoiding the above, additionally avoids consuming eggs, milk & every other dairy merchandise, and different merchandise derived from animals.
Some meals choices for Vegetarians and Vegans at native eating places
Ensalada – Salad
Frijoles – Beans
Arroz – Rice (sometimes served with beans. Examine the subsequent 2 objects for rice choices)
Gallo pinto – Breakfast dish with white rice and black beans cooked with onion, garlic, pink bell pepper, and cilantro. It comes with just a few sides akin to eggs, natilla (bitter cream), plantains, tortillas, and cheese.
That is principally a vegetarian dish, however few eating places can provide meat as a aspect. Keep in mind to inform them that you simply don’t need meat. If you’re vegan, inform them to take away dairy merchandise.
Casado – Typical meal for lunch or dinner. It consists of white rice, black beans, fried plantains, a salad of lettuce, tomato & onion, and meat/rooster/fish.
You possibly can ask for vegetarian casado which consists of steamed greens as a substitute of meat.
Yogurt – Yogurt
Papas fritas – French fries
Frutas – Fruit
Platanos – Fried plantains
Nachos or patacones – Nachos or fried plantains with guacamole, beans, cheese, greens, and pico de gallo.
Quesadilla – A corn tortilla that’s stuffed with cheese, meats, greens, spices, and different fillings. This will simply be transformed right into a vegetarian dish by asking them to not put meat.
Chorreadas – Corn pancakes served for breakfast or with espresso. If you’re vegan, verify if they’re made with milk.
Vegetales al vapor – Steamed greens
Arroz Jardinero – Backyard, or vegetarian rice dish
Arroz con palmito – Coronary heart of palm rice
Sopa Negra – Black bean soup, often served with a hard-boiled egg. Keep in mind to ask them to take away the eggs if you’re vegan.
Crema de pejibaye – Peach palm soup
Tortillas de maiz – Corn tortillas
If you happen to go to a high-end restaurant, additionally, you will get vegetarian choices for pizza (Margherita and vegetarian pizza), pasta, pancakes, onion rings, jalapeno poppers, and sandwiches.
6 Suggestions for a Vegan/Vegetarian Life-style whereas Touring in Costa Rica
1. Study some frequent meals phrases and phrases in Spanish
One necessary factor to notice is that not everybody speaks English in Costa Rica. Particularly at native eating places and small sodas. Subsequently, it’s suggested to be taught some Spanish meals names and a few primary Spanish phrases & references.
I’m a vegetarian – Soy vegetariano/a
I’m a vegan – Soy vegano/a
No animal merchandise – Sin productos de animales
No cheese – Sin queso
No milk – Sin leche
No butter – Sin mantequilla
Con vegetales – With greens
I don’t eat meat – Yo no como carne
I don’t eat rooster – Yo no como pollo
I don’t eat eggs – Yo no como huevos
I don’t eat fish – Yo no como pescado
Is there xxx? – ¿Hay xxx?
In water – En agua (can use this to order fruit smoothies, known as batidos in Spanish, in water and never milk)
2. Analysis upfront
Each time I’m planning to go to a city or a seashore, I do a fast analysis on some eating places that provide vegan or vegetarian meals. Normally, the names present up on google. This protects me the difficulty of stopping by each restaurant and looking on the menu whereas I’m on the journey.
3. Clarify clearly what you possibly can and can’t eat
Sadly, even after telling the employees that I’m a vegetarian, I’m typically served meat. As talked about above, many individuals are usually not clear on the idea of veganism and vegetarianism. They might suppose that being a vegetarian means you eat numerous greens, or that you simply don’t need meat however fish is okay. Or they could utterly take you as a vegan who wouldn’t even need dairy merchandise. And I’m saying this out of private expertise!
So be very clear about what you need and don’t need in your meals. Even when meaning utilizing numerous Spanish phrases and giving numerous directions. For instance, when I’m ordering aplate of nachos vegetariano or nachos con vegetales (nachos with greens), I inform them – sin carne, sin pollo, sin pescado, pero el queso esta bien (no meat, no rooster, no fish, however cheese is ok).
4. Make a request
It may well occur typically that you simply like one thing on the menu however it could include meat. Don’t hesitate to ask them if the dish might be made vegetarian. A easy request can earn you a very good meal.
Generally once I see quesadilla on the menu, and though vegetarian quesadilla isn’t talked about, I ask the waiter if quesadilla might be made with out meat and solely with greens and cheese. More often than not they’re comfortable to conform. Generally they are saying that they should verify with the chef and so they typically come again saying that they CAN make it vegetarian. And typically (very hardly ever) they are saying that they can’t fulfill our request. However what’s the hurt in attempting?
5. Order a number of aspect dishes or appetizers
Consuming rice 3 instances can typically get boring. Everybody likes selection of their meals. That is why my husband and I typically solely order aspect dishes for our meals. They’re small parts however typically very filling. Some examples are – Papas fritas, black bean soup, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, and platanos.
6. Prepare dinner on the lodge/hostel
Now, what’s higher than cooking the meals your self? If you’re very explicit in regards to the meals you eat, then cooking your self is the most suitable choice for having fun with a hearty meal. For this, search for inns & hostels which have a shared/frequent kitchen the place you possibly can cook dinner your personal meals. Purchase your components from the farmers’ markets (ferias) and native shops when touring.
Discovering vegan or vegetarian meals isn’t exhausting in Costa Rica. You simply have to have the appropriate analysis, the appropriate data, and the appropriate mindset for it. Attempt to perceive that vegetarianism and veganism are usually not frequent for Costa Ricans, so you need to be affected person and versatile along with your wants. And most significantly, attempt to mix in with the native delicacies. When you do, you’ll begin liking the meals right here. Cheers!