In Costa Rica, Order a Married Man

Next time you’re in Costa Rica, find a restaurant that serves comida tipica, or typical Costa Rican cuisine. Pick up your menu, browse through the selections, and choose the dish that offers rice, beans, salad, and meat. Then put the menu down, look bravely at your waiter, and ask for the married man. It’s that simple.

Of course, you might want to use the Spanish word for this: casado. This is the Costa Rican equivalent of a blue plate special. Why do they call it a casado, or married man? I’ve heard a couple of versions of this story.

One version says that in the past, Costa Rican wives would pack this meal in their husbands’ lunch boxes when they sent them off to work. Here’s another:

(From the novel, See Before You Die: Costa Rica)


I jumped at the smooth voice over my shoulder. I turned and there he was—Mr. Ripped—smiling down at me with a plate in his hand. Did he just say something about marriage?

“Excuse me?”

“Casado.” He pointed at the table. “Traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Black beans. Rice. Meat. Cabbage. Tomatoes. It’s known as casado. The word translates as married, or more specifically, married man. It means the boring daily fare a man can expect to eat after he’s been snagged into marriage.”


“What can I say? These Ticos have a wicked sense of humor…” 



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