Tuesday 2 March 2021

Ceviche-Tasting in San Jose’s Mercado Central


Mercado Central in Costa Rica’s capital San José is my kind of place: a bustling, crammed market filled with ordinary folks going about their day. Turn a corner and you might see a statue of Jesus, unceremoniously encased in a glass box next to a butcher, or a fruit stand where every color of the rainbow bursts from the lovingly displayed produce.

I stop at a busy lunch counter and break one of my cardinal travel rules: I eat raw fish in a landlocked city. In my defense, I just can’t eat another plate of casado; I’ve been subjected daily to the Costa Rican staple of rice, beans, fried plantain, and a piece of meat or fish. Today’s another scorching day, and the guy next to me relishes his ceviche so much that I give in and order the same.

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Costa Rican ceviche is closer to the Mexican variety than the Peruvian kind, with chunks of tilapia, mahi mahi, and octopus in lime marinade garnished with onion, cilantro, and peppers.


Sure, I’m a tad nervous. But of all the eateries in the city, this is probably the closest to a fishmonger’s. Besides, isn’t eating always an act of trust? When we travel, we depend on the kindness of those we encounter—including the owner of this stand, who checks in on me several times to make sure that I enjoy my meal. I do.

Source: The Daily Traveler

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