The pride of the Ticos: Gallo Pinto

December 2, 2019

Ticos call Gallo Pinto or Pinto to a combination of rice and beans cooked with lizano sauce, coriander, and sweet pepper, among some of its ingredients. It is called Gallo Pinto because when the beans and rice come together, the rice acquires the color of the beans and the mixture becomes multicolored. Usually, Costa Ricans use black beans, but the dish has variations and many prefer red beans.

There are other variations of this dish. A similar dish is found in Panama and in El Salvador, where it is called Casamiento. It is also known as Moros y Cristianos (“Moors and Christians”) in Spain and Cuba or just Moro. But, regarding the true nature of Gallo Pinto, it is believed that it came to be known through the Afro-Latino immigrants who live on the Caribbean coasts. In Costa Rica’s Limón Province, the dish is prepared with coconut and is simply called “rice and beans.”

Gallo Pinto is always cooked with Lizano sauce, that’s what makes this dish a Costa Rican one. There is a saying in Costa Rica that says: “Donde hay salsa Lizano, hay un Tico”. This translates to “Where there is Lizano sauce, there is a Tico”. The Lizano sauce, also called Salsa Inglesa, is the pride and culinary joy of Costa Rica. For almost 90 years, Lizano sauce has been a staple in every table and in every home. It has also captured the taste buds of travelers from around the world.