Fast food Costa Rican style means the ‘Soda’. These are basically little roadside shacks which serve up freshly prepared meals at a great price.
This particular one is on the road between San José and the Arenal Volcano. It’s a great little spot set just back from the tarmac, the back wall drops off steeply down the slope so the family live effectively underneath the soda, looking out over the valley.
The counter itself is much like a breakfast bar in a house, some stools, a tablecloth, pot of sugar, odds and ends. Behind the counter is a domestic kitchen with bare floor and a variety of cookers and hot plates, all spotlessly clean. The family all seemed to be working away to produce delicious plates of rice, beans and chicken or sea bass.
Most of the customers were Costa Ricans, ambulance drivers, taxi drivers, families were all tucking in while I was there.
At the front of the soda is the shop, selling everything from sweets and cakes to shoes and oil. This was staffed by the older son. The younger son was serving and generally excited to be using his school English on me.
What is lovely about the soda is that it’s a bit like you sitting looking into a Costa Rican family kitchen. As if someone’s just taken a wall away and you’re there invited to lunch. It’s so much less formal and clinical than a restaurant and so really is something we don’t have here in the UK.
It’s often places like this which form the best memories of Costa Rica holidays. In this case the son took me across the road to show me the coffee plantation and an amazing view out over the central valley. Just an everyday kindness shown to a passing stranger.
Find out more about our Costa Rica holidays or call us on 01273 67 67 12 and we’ll get you eating at a soda in no time!