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Greg Henry's Travels I'm a hungry traveler. This is where I share my journey. You'll see I have a particular interest in eating once I arrive.

Costa Rica: Eating Local

COSTA RICA | Sunday, 22 February 2015 | Views [442]

Simple food honestly prepared. Whole fried fish with plantains, served outside on the weathered boards of a rustic table, accompanied by beer and hot sauce.

Ocean breezes and shanty shade to protect us from the heat and sun. The sound of something Latin and soulful crackling through speakers that have spent too much time in the salty air. The beat, somewhere between Soca and Salsa, competes with the crash of the waves.

These are the kinds of places I seek out when I travel.

I found one such place in Quepos, Costa Rica. It’s called Bahia Azul. It’s a simple place with rusty fixtures, broken chairs and happy people. It’s not the kind of place you’ll find many tourists, it’s a bit off the beaten path. From the outside it may even seem a bit intimidating– it may not “clean” in the way Americans are used to, but it's authentic, and perfectly delicious.

It’s the kind of place locals stop in to get a bite to eat and a quick beer or four on their way to or from the day’s activities. I can tell the regulars knew just who to expect to see sitting at the bar. There aren’t any menus. All the patrons know what is served. Afterall, this is Quepos, a fishing town on the Pacific coast. The people here have earned their living from the sea long before the tourists came to town. One after the other I watched the people who ambled up to the bar sit down smile and simply say pescado. That means fish.

When you say pescado at a place like Bahia Azul, you get a whole fried fish, served with scorching hot fried plantains, and the local version of a salad made with whatever vegetable the cook has handy. Naturally, when we took our table we simply said, "pescado, por favor". Oh, and "dos cervezas!"

What we got was the perfect marriage of delicious food, served with no pretense. Which perfectly reflects the relaxed atmosphere. It was a great culinary moment for me. We spent the whole afternoon there. Drinking beer, playing backgammon, watching the water taxi ferry folks back and forth across the bahia azul surrounding us.



Tags: costa rica, fish, local, seafood

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