Belizeâ€™s abundant cultural interaction makes for an incredible diversity of foods. As tourism has increased, so has the availability of international cuisine countrywide. While the mainstay of Belizean fare is undoubtedly stewed chicken, and rice and beans served with plantains, every region has at least one or two specialty based predominantly on its cultural heritage. Â Corozal in the north of the country is bordered by Mexico and as such, has absorbed the Mexican influence. Corn is a staple here and is used in the making of tamale, a corn based dough called masa surrounding chicken. It is wrapped in a banana or plantain leaf served and is served with a juicy tomato based sauce. Traditionally the tamale was prepared by the ancient Maya for feasts. Today they are eaten by everyone. Dukunu another delicacy is made from the ground and roasted corn kernels steamed in corn husks.Most street corners in Belize towns have their own taco stands and local favorites, but Orange Walk arguably has the best. Tacos, a rolled corn tortilla with meat filling can be spicy or mild, and make for a delicious breakfast. Â The cuisine of Ambergris Caye, one of the main tourist destinations of the country, has absorbed influences from around the country. Here you will find every kind of Belizean delicacy, as well as international cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood. With dishes ranging from Japanese sushi, to Italian pizza, to Salvadoran pupusas, your taste buds wonâ€™t be disappointed. You canâ€™t leave here without trying the lobster (Lobsterfest takes place in June) and of course the local specialty of ceviche, usually made with raw conch â€œcookedâ€ with lime juice, cucumber and habanero pepper.Whilst similar international cuisine is available in the tourism destinations of Placencia and Hopkins, in Dangriga (Stann Creek district), the traditional flavors reflect the strong garifuna culture. Coconut milk, banana, plantain, fish and cassava root are all popular ingredients used to make the specialties of this region, which include â€œSereâ€, a coconut based fish soup, and â€œHudutâ€ consisting of mashed plantain.In Belize City itself, establishments serving chicken with rice and beans and a side of plantain and coleslaw or potato salad, abounds. Much like the taco stands every Belizean has their favorite supplier of this traditionally creole dish. Belize City has also become known for its diversity of fried chicken restaurants, some creole and some spicy, while others are oriental and crispy, all served with orange Fanta infused ketchup. With nicknames such as â€œkick down fenceâ€, â€œNice and Nastyâ€, â€œFreetown Kentuckyâ€ and â€œGreasy Bagâ€, who can resist this artery clogging indulgence? Â In the Toledo district the indigenous Maya have a mainstay diet of corn and beans and whatever else is grown on their farm. The midday meal is often caldo, a clear soup eaten with tortillas and accompanied by the Maya cacao drink Kukuh, which is a mixture of ground cocoa beans, pepper, corn and water. Along with the Maya, there is a strong East Indian influence here and the local spices are added to make delicious curry.No article on Belizean food would be complete without mentioning 3 countrywide staples.
- The â€œJohnny Cakeâ€: a heavy bread eaten plain, with ham/cheese, or chicken, traditionally cooked over an open flame.
- â€œFry Jacksâ€: deep fried flour tortillas.
And finally, no Belizean meal would be complete without a bottle of hot sauce, made with habanero chile peppers. ItÂ is addictive and once youâ€™ve tried it one time, you will have it on everything, just like the locals do.Enjoy!
-Belize Chocolate Company