Belizean cuisine is a fusion food – a mix of Mexican, African, Caribbean, Spanish and of course Mayan. If in doubt, always steer towards seafood. Delicious catches of fish, prawns and lobster are freely available and extremely good value. Rice and peas are a staple for Belizeans and served with almost every meal. The dish differs from it Caribbean origins with the use of red instead of black beans. Note the subtle name difference, if you order ‘beans and rice’ you will be greeted with a plate the ingredients cooked and served separately. Another favourite among Belizeans are stews in various forms. Typical chicken, beef and fish stews packed with dark spices are commonly served in local restaurants. Black Gumbo or chimole is delicious and can also be found in most local eateries.
On most tables you will find Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce, made from habanera peppers, onions and carrots which is dolloped onto almost everything eaten and peeps up even the blandest of dishes. Breakfast varies from region to region. Typical Belizeans eat eggs along with refried beans served up on tortillas. Jonnycakes (a dry baked biscuit) and fry jacks (a deep fried batter dusted with sugar) are also commonly eaten in the morning. For a snack try conch fritters, delicious deep fried conch and batter balls. Belizeans also have their own take on empanadas – small meat filled pastries. Much of the meat served in dishes is wild and fairly adventurous to the western palettes. Gibnut (a large rodent), iguanas, sea turtles, wild boar and armadillo are not uncommon. Please note wild game hunting is having an impact on the country’s environment so be careful what and where you eat.
Fruit in Belize is particularly abundant. Delicious ripe papayas, melons, bananas and mangos can be found almost everywhere. Vegetables however are a little harder to come by. Simple grated cabbage or potatoes are the only vegetables that typically adorn the side of a main dish. Wash everything down with fresh juices made from limes, oranges, mangoes and pineapple or try one of the many varieties of excellent Belizean beer. Guinness fans will be pleased to know that the stout is produced here and is readily available.
To start your foodie journey to Belize please see our holiday ideas.