Food is our common ground, a universal experience”….such true lines by Chef and food writer, James Beard. These appetizing lines sound mouth-watering when authentic food of Belize comes in the picture.
For a regular foodie interested in trying an array of flavors to a food connoisseur indulged in the world of sophisticated dining, the beautiful country has a variety of options that make their palette go “wow”!
Bubbling with hints of discrete cuisines, Belize’s menu features Caribbean classics, an extravagant medley of seafood and aromatic treats to impress even the pickiest eater.
Without playing with the feelings of taste buds, gear up for an amazing food ride to some of the most popular dishes of the tropical country.
This Maya staple dates back before the time of Christ and comes in many forms. The popular dish is prepared using a variety of fillings that blend together to make up the center of a cornmeal roll, wrapped gently in corn husks and boiled or steamed for a magical taste. Belizean tamales are must to relish upon as their ingredients, flavors and essence are kept same as they were thousand years back.
Cochinita signifies “young pig” and pibil means “buried”. One of the top dishes on the menu, the meal treats one with marinated pork wrapped in leaves and buried for slow cooking. It is served in tacos style with fresh corn tortillas topped elegantly with cilantro, avocado chunks and raw sliced or pickled onions, while habanero pepper is added according to the taste. This scrumptious meal melts in the mouth for that instant delivery of unforgettable taste.
Locally reputed as the National Dish of Belize, this delicacy is eaten by the residents on Sundays. Both rice and beans are cooked together with addition of coconut milk. Stewed chicken made with exotic Belizean spices, fried ripe plantain and potato salad balance this tempting food. Nothing else but it is this dish which represents the country’s culture in an unbeatable way. All in all, different flavors brought up in one plate.
Don’t go on the odd name, as this dish is a yummy way to bring the family together on the dining table. Being one of the signature dishes the country swears by, this soup features cow’s foot or a pig’s tail as the chief ingredient. Alongside the meat are onions, cilantro, potatoes, carrots, okra and pepper. To enjoy the essence at its best, fat, cartilage and skin are a must to eat.
Ceviche in other countries is slightly sweeter with little seafood but Belizean ceviche has a twist to it. Packed with seafood, it offers a tangy and pleasing taste. Shrimp, fish, lobster, conch or a mixture of all four is used to prepare this dish, which holds a spot among the top 6 must have dishes of the country. Chunks of seafood, tomatoes, cilantro, onions, black pepper, salt and lots of lime juice fill the mouth with a punch of diverse experience. A perfect afternoon snack, Belizean ceviche is served with a side of fried corn tortilla chips.
A taste bud teaser for sure, Panades is something everyone asks for once more. Made with corn dough, the peppy treat starts off like a tortilla and is layered with either cooked fish, chicken or beans, folded and deep fried until it turns into crispy golden brown pockets. An appetizing explosion happens in the mouth when onion-cilantro salsa takes up the taste quotient further. Simply put, cheap and easily available fast food.
Yes, it has an unappealing name; yes, it has a usual black color; still a cordial and soul warming soup one could ever taste. The dish gets its dark color from a Mayan condiment known as ‘black recado’, which is also the reason behind a spicy, strong and smoky flavor. A well-defined mixture of ground beef, chicken and pork, relleno negro’s other ingredients include onions, tomatoes, eggs, chili, garlic and several spices found exclusively in Belize.
Have it for lunch or dinner, these tiny fried tortillas topped with chicken, cheese, onion, cabbage, avocado, tomato and Marie Sharp pepper are a major highlight on every menu. The soft texture and crispness make Salbutes fancier and a festive treat for foodies who are always looking to pamper their taste buds. Believed to get its origin from the Mestizo culture, the food is one of those ‘on the go’ kind of treat that can be easily purchased for lunch.
Belizean cuisine is the bowl filled with the best of British, Mexican, Caribbean and Asian flavors. But there’s so much more to be savored to the core. Catch a glimpse below…
Being wild is justified at times. For all the adventurous guests, some zesty options include:
Known as the “Jewel in the heart of the Caribbean basin”, Belize is one place where food shares a close bond with holidays and celebrations of the country.
November 1, celebrated as All Saints’ Day is all about leaving homemade snacks and candies for the deceased. What’s surprising is that these candies are decorated in a way to resemble skulls and skeletons, which are then eaten by families either in their homes or in cemeteries.
Next event showcasing the culture & tradition is ‘Sunday dinner’, a family get-together where rice and beans are enjoyed with potato salad. However, ‘Chicken’ is the main course and loved by everyone. All these dishes are served on the day of Christmas too.