Rice and beans are the bases of most Central American meals -- all three of them. At breakfast, they're called gallo pinto and come with everything from eggs to steak to seafood. At lunch or dinner, rice and beans are an integral part of a casado (which translates as "married" and is the name for the local version of a blue-plate special). A casado usually consists of cabbage-and-tomato salad, fried plantains (a starchy, banana-like fruit), and a chicken, fish, or meat dish of some sort. On the Caribbean coast, rice and beans are called rice 'n' beans, and are cooked in coconut milk.

However, you don't have to look too far to see that the region boasts an abundant variety of other local dishes to sample, which incorporate unique vegetables, fruits, and grains. Though rice and beans will be on almost all menus, in coastal areas, you'll also come across an incredible amount of seafood, especially lobster and shrimp. 

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