When in Belize, what local food will you eat? Here are some of the dishes and ingredients to enjoy.
One of my favorite parts of traveling is getting to try a different cuisine. There is good food out there and while the U.S. and Austin, TX provide a well-rounded mix of cuisines and flavors, there’s something special about trying the food in its country of origin.
As I mentioned in my post about Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort, we stayed and ate at the resort all week. Our package made meal times easy and I liked that they included traditional Belizean dishes on their menus. I tried as many new-to-me foods as possible! (I also tried to take the best photos I could, though many are from dinner time.) Many of these dishes are Caribbean dishes, so you can find them in multiple countries.
Deep-fried dough, how can you resist? One of my favorite things I ate in Belize was this traditional Belizean delight. While I ate it plain at breakfast, it can also be stuffed with meat. I would describe it like the shape and structure of a pita with the taste of an unglazed donut. Basically, I’ll be dreaming about these. (Pictured here with a mini frittata and Belizean coffee.)
You know what they say about Marie Sharp, right? She’s the hottest lady in Belize! Haha, that joke didn’t get old. This hot sauce comes in multiple flavors and levels of heat, and it’s a typical condiment you’ll see on tables. From what the locals say, stay away from the one called Beware!
Stew Chicken or Beef, Fried Plantains, Coconut Rice and Beans
I could have eaten this every day. There are a lot of complementary flavors in this hearty dish. What makes Belizean Rice and Beans special is that it is cooked in coconut milk.
We encountered two types of ceviche in Belize. One was what one typically thinks of ceviche, with white fish or shrimp. We also had non-fish ceviche with watermelon and pineapple. We ate ceviche every day!
Ceviche, grilled fish, fried fish, cocktail shrimp, fish cakes. I definitely reveled in the seafood bounty when in Belize! I had everything from snapper, jackfish, and lionfish. I also enjoyed Belikin beer battered shrimp!
Also known as tree spinach, this leaf is a traditional Maya ingredient and added to omelets and soup. It’s a little tougher than spinach but has more flavor.
Johnny Cake or Journey Cake
Johnny Cakes are dense, circular bread made with flour and coconut milk. They last a long time, so they are an ideal snack for a long trip, hence it is also known as “journey cake.” You usually slice it horizontally and add stewed chicken or cooked fish in the middle to make a sandwich. (On this plate, you’ll see other things typical of a Belizean breakfast: fry jack, fish, and refried beans.)
Coconut Bread and Desserts
With the abundance of coconuts, it makes sense to use the coconut meat and milk to make bread and desserts like coconut cake, coconut ice cream, and coconut pie. I loved all of it!
I have no evidence of where this dish originated, but I first had this dish in Costa Rica. I think about that dish frequently but haven’t encountered it again. So, I was ecstatic when I saw it on the menu in Belize. The dish has thin slices of beetroot, arugula, shaved Parmesan, horseradish cream, and capers. I could eat it every day. The Internet has plenty of recipes for this dish, so I hope to make it one day!
I tried a traditional Garifuna dish of fish poached in coconut milk and loved it! Garifuna is a language and culture of the Garinagu, Afro-Caribbean people who have settled in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In Belize, the Garinagu have communities in Southern Belize.
Cassava is a root vegetable that some might know as tapioca. This isn’t the typical “pudding” you need to eat with a spoon. Cassava Pudding, a popular Caribbean dessert, is more like a dense, glutinous cake with a similar texture to mochi. They served it with plenty of vanilla ice cream.
Fresh Fruit and Juice
What do I love about tropical places? Fresh fruit and juice! Papaya, watermelon, pineapple. We snacked on fruit every day and drank it at breakfast.
Belikin Beer by Belize Brewing Company
When in Belize, Belikin is your beer! Belikin Premium is a good beer with flavor but Belikin Regular is close behind. Also made by Belikin, Lighthouse Lager is close to beer water. Craving dark? You’ve got Belikin Stout.
Ok, beer snob. If you don’t want to drink Belikin, you’ll need to make your way to San Pedro to try Island Time Brewing, a nano brewery in Belize. There are a handful of other craft beers but they don’t have distribution around the country either. Your best bet is to hop from bar to bar to see what craft beer they’ve got!
While I didn’t get to try it for myself, Cashew Wine is a popular wine choice in Belize. It’s wine made from cashew fruit.
While you can find all kinds of liquor in Belize, rum is king. Rum punch! Piña colada! Other fruit-forward rum drinks! Belize has you covered.
There are coconuts galore, so look out above! Fresh coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating drink. Make it a party but pouring in some liquor.
Before we decided on staying at Hamanasi, I was already making my restaurant list. Here are some recommended places around Belize to check out.
- Innie’s Restaurant (Hopkins)
- Errolyns House of Fry Jacks (Caye Caulker)
- Dee N’ D’s (Caye Caulker)
- Robin’s Kitchen (San Pedro)
- Palapa Bar and Grill (San Pedro)