Giant rice-and-beans celebrates Talamanca Municipality’s 42nd anniversary

Cooks produced a mountain of the traditional Caribbean dish during a weekend festival in the tourist town of Puerto Viejo, on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, as Meg Yamamoto reports.

The so-called “biggest rice-and-beans in the Southern Caribbean” was made and eaten Saturday in the beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

The traditional dish of the Caribbean region has a coconut-milk kick that distinguishes it from that other Costa Rican rice-and-beans standby, gallo pinto. This weekend’s giant batch was made with 120 coconuts, 24 bags of rice and 12 bags of red beans, according to Gindra Barrett, one of the event’s volunteer cooks. Other key ingredients in the dish are thyme and chile panameño, a chili pepper with a unique flavor that is widely used in the region’s cuisine, said fellow cook Mirna Bent, known locally for her desserts and patí (a spicy meat empanada).

Asked how they could be sure the day’s mound of rice-and-beans was the biggest ever made in the Southern Caribbean region, Bent replied, “We don’t know.”

The activity was part of a three-day festival celebrating the 42nd anniversary of the Talamanca Municipality. Other highlights included cultural and children’s activities, concerts and soccer games.

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