We don’t know who started the rumor that you can’t get a good meal in Belize. The fact is, you can eat gloriously well, at modest prices.
Rice and beans is the quintessential Belizean dish, but this are not the rice and beans your momma used to fix — unless she’s from Belize or perhaps New Orleans. Beans and rice in Belize means spicy and smoky, with plenty of recado (also known as achiote) and other seasonings, perhaps flavored with salt pork and some onions and peppers and cooked in coconut milk. Usually these are served with a chunk of stew chicken, fish or pork. The whole thing might cost just US$5 in a pleasant restaurant. If you’re not happy in Belize, you’re probably not getting enough rice and beans.
Along the coast and on the cayes, seafood is as fresh as the salt air. In-season (midJune to mid-February) spiny lobster — grilled, broiled, steamed, even fried — is fairly inexpensive and good. But a big filet of snapper or grouper, prepared over a grill with lime juice, is just as tasty and even cheaper. Conch, in season October to June, is delicious grilled or stewed in lime juice as ceviche, but we like it best in fritters, chopped and fried in a light batter.
Every ethnic group in multicultural Belize has its own taste treats. Among them: Serre and hoodut, one of the best-known Garifuna dishes, which is fish cooked in coconut milk with plantains. Boil up is a Creole favorite, fish boiled with plantains, yams and potatoes, and served with a tomato sauce and boiled bread. The Maya dish most popular with tourists is pibil, pork and other meats seasoned, wrapped in banana leaf and cooked slowly in an underground oven. Of course, with Mexico next door, Belize has a wide variety of Mexican dishes, including tamales, burritos, garnaches (corn tortillas fried and topped with beans, salsa and cheese) and panades (deep-fried tortillas filled with fish).
Article Contributed By Travel Writer Lan Sluder