When you see a flurry of workers setting up a transportable bullring, you know the fiestas are rolling into town – and with them, come the street food vendors. Here are some of the finger-licking street food options you can expect to find people selling out of carts; usually somewhere in between the bullring and carnival rides.
These are delicious Costa Rican corn pancakes served warm. They usually come with fresh, mouthwatering natilla – or sour cream. Natilla is, in and of itself, one of the country’s most impressive culinary-claim to-fames. On top of a chorreada, the combination is simply to die for.
Cantonese fried rice is so immensely popular that it is widely considered a typical Costa Rican food. There is something in it for everyone – ham, chicken, shrimp and pork. Most recipes also call for scallions, celery, bean sprouts and sweet peppers. Don’t forget the soy sauce, which gives it its color. Cantonese rice was most likely first introduced to Costa Rica by its large Chinese immigrant population. (Fun fact: in 2013, a dedicated 52 chefs and 20 of their assistants broke the Guinness Book of World Records for largest plate of fried rice ever cooked. The plate weighed 1.3 tons, and was created in celebration of Chinese New Year. Click here to watch the video.)
Although pupusas are originally from El Salvador, you can find street vendors cooking them up at almost all fresh food markets and fiestas throughout Costa Rica. These corn flour pockets are stuffed with your choice of pork chicharrones, refried beans and cheese (or all of the above). They are usually served with little bags of spicy cabbage fermented in vinegar.
Elote con Mantequilla
Corn on the cob. This one is self-explanatory.
Chicharrones are downright delicious. There are two varieties: crunchy, and not-crunchy. The crunchy kind are made from the skin, and people typically love ‘em or hate ‘em. The meaty kind is made up of delectable pork meat.
Meat on a stick. Usually pork, sometimes beef.
Algodon de Azucar
Everyone knows what cotton candy is. In case you’ve been raised by wolves, the dictionary describes it as “a mass of fluffy spun sugar, usually pink or white, wrapped around a stick or a paper cone.” Fun and unrelated fact: cotton candy machines may soon be used by scientists to help make artificial organs in the laboratory.
Granizados are Costa Rican-style snow cones. Men in little carts walk around putting shaved ice smothered in sugary syrup, powdered and condensed milk into little cups. These frozen treats are a popular way to cool off and escape the Guanacaste heat at the beach.
A decadent dessert made up of fried bread coated in sugar. They are kind of like funnel cakes, but even more delicious.