Gallo pinto
Gallo pinto is a traditional dish of Costa Rica that was introduced by nicaraguan immigrants. During the 1980's many nicaraguans immigrated to Costa Rica influencing their food and music. Though many variations exist, the dish at its most basic is composed of pre-cooked rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s fried together. It is considered the national dish
National dish
A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that is considered to represent a particular country, nation or region.A dish can become a national dish for a variety of reasons. It can be the national dish because it is a staple daily food for the majority of the population. It can also be the national...

, and is eaten as part of any meal, although mostly for breakfast
Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night's sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work...

. Originally traditional gallo pinto in Nicaragua was introduced from the caribbean cost of Nicaragua by the slave population that came from Jamaica. The Caribbean cost of Nicaraguan has one of the oldest settlements from the english empire in central America. Even though, controversial claim between Nicaragua and Costa Rica who invented the dish most people conclude that the origal dish is cooked with pinto beans. Nicaragua is the largest producer and consumer of pinto beans in Central America. Costa Ricans use black beans as their favourite bean for their gallo pinto. To add more to the confusion, costa ricans call the mix of rice and beans casado when eaten at any other time of day but breakfast.±


When the red beans and rice are combined, the rice gets colored by the beans, and the mix results in a multi-colored, or speckled appearance. Beans are quickly cooked until the juice is almost consumed. Gallo pinto means "spotted rooster" in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, thus the name fits with the colored rice.

Often considered to be the core ingredient of a meal, the name is also traditionally believed to have developed to conceal the lack of meat in the dish, either because it is unavailable or too expensive. So the host serves a dish hoping that those eating it will be fooled into believing it contains chicken, the lack of which being disguised by the texture and speckled appearance of the bean and rice mixture. Those eating are rarely fooled, however, so the pejorative name "gallo pinto" suggesting the dish has been merely "painted rooster" arose.


There are other variations of this dish. Similar dishes are known as Moros y Cristianos ("Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 and Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s") in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 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. They simply call it "rice and beans" and prepare it with coconut oil
Coconut oil
Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm . Throughout the tropical world, it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry...

 and/or shredded coconut. A similar dish is found in Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 where it is called casamiento. Other variations include pigeon peas or kidney beans instead of black beans in Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

; Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 (calentado paisa) and even Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 (tacu tacu).

Recently, empanada
An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin America, Southern Europe and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing...

s filled with gallo pinto are becoming a popular alternative for people who have little time to eat breakfast.

See also

  • Hoppin' John
    Hoppin' John
    Hoppin' John is the Southern United States' version of the rice and beans dish traditional throughout West Africa. It consists of black-eyed peas and rice, with chopped onion and sliced bacon, seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock or fatback for the conventional bacon; a...

     - the equivalent dish in the Southern United States
    Southern United States
    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

  • Pabellón criollo
    Pabellón criollo
    Pabellón criollo is a traditional Venezuelan dish, the local version of the rice and beans combination found throughout the Caribbean. It is a plate of rice, shredded beef and stewed black beans that is considered by many to be the Venezuelan national dish....

     - a dish with these ingredients in Venezuela
    Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

  • Platillo Moros y Cristianos
    Platillo Moros y Cristianos
    Platillo Moros y Cristianos is a famous Cuban dish. It can be considered to be the Cuban version of rice and beans, a dish found throughout the Caribbean and in Brazil.-Name:...

     - the Cuba
    The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

    n equivalent
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