Thursday 1 June 2023

Gallo Pinto: The Costa Rica breakfast

Gallo Pinto is said to originate in the multi-colored or speckled appearance that results from cooking the rice with black or red beans

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TODAY COSTA RICA – Gallo Pinto is a national dish in Costa Rica. Locals usually eat it for breakfast.

The traditional dish from Central America is made with rice, beans, onions and a spicy sauce. Gallo pinto has a long history and is important to Nicaraguan identity and culture, just as rice and beans variations are equally important in many Latin American cultures as well.

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Gallo pinto means “spotted rooster” in Spanish. The name is said to originate in the multi-colored or speckled appearance that results from cooking the rice with black or red beans. The term may also be shortened depending on the region.

Gallo pinto is found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. In the Caribbean areas of these countries it is possible to find rice and beans, a similar dish prepared with coconut milk.

In Costa Rica there are two main variations:


  • Central Valley or the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM): gallo pinto is moister, usually prepared with black beans, less greasy, and is seasoned with chili, cilantro, and onions. One variant includes Lizano sauce.
  • Guanacaste province: with a more fatty and roasted gallo pinto; made with red beans.


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Q Costa Rica
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