Eating My Way Through Costa Rica

I always joke that going to dinner with my family is the most difficult task in the world. My father refuses to eat a variety of foods from fish to mayonnaise, my sister is a strict vegetarian, and sadly, I’m not much easier to eat out with. Food has governed my life since I was a child as I was plagued with mysterious stomach aches and digestive problems that were only recently diagnosed as IBS. IBS, a chronic health condition, which required me to rule out a list of foods from my diet, most prominently: gluten. 

Gallo pinto, beans and rice, is the national dish of Costa Rica, and luckily for me an amazing gluten free breakfast.

I knew that if I were to study abroad I would have to choose a country where wheat, the biggest source of gluten, was not an essential.

I love tacos made with corn tortillas!

Costa Rica appeared to be a perfect choice as rice and corn were plentiful replacements for wheat, and I couldn’t have predicted it better. 

Cafe Miel, another breakfast essential is the delicious Costa Rican coffee.

Despite having to explain my dietary restrictions in broken Spanish, it is easier for me to eat here than it is in the US!

Acai bowls are popular in the US too, but it doesn’t make me love them any less!

Other cuisines are easy to find in Costa Rica too. This is our hotel’s twist on Asian curry.

Other cuisines are easy to find in Costa Rica too. This is our hotel’s twist on Asian curry.

My study abroad experience has been filled with empanadas, corn pancakes, and rice, and my Mama Tica (Costa Rican host mom) has prepared me an array of gluten free meals.  

My host mom’s twist on breakfast pancakes. These are made with corn flour instead of wheat.

Needless to say, I’ll be taking a few recipes back home with me!

Siobhan Mitchell  is a student at Denison University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She studies abroad with ISA in San Jose, Costa Rica

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