Belizean food is a bit hard to pinpoint as far as its
main identity goes, but what's really important
is how it tastes. You'll be happy to know that Belizean
food is overwhelming quite excellent. Yes, Belize dining is just one more thing that makes Belize
vacations so great. Belize is an extremely laid-back
country, mention of which is made regularly in this Belize
guide, and the relaxed vibe here extends into every facet
of life. This is very much true when it comes to Belize
dining. The restaurants in Belize, which can specialize
in anything from Caribbean,
African, Spanish, Mayan, and Mexican-influenced fare,
are usually not coat and tie affairs. You'll be
hard-pressed to find anything of the fine-dining variety
among the restaurants in Belize, which is just fine by
most. This doesn't mean that enjoying a savory and
divine meal in Belize isn't possible. The Belize
food is good, that's for sure, and it doesn't
need a fancy wrapper to make it any better.
Although a national cuisine is not exactly something that Belize boasts, you can certainly rely on two main staples that seem to find their way onto the majority of dishes. As you might expect from a Central American country, rice and beans are seemingly always part of the Belize dining plan. Black beans are sometimes used by Belizeans, but they tend to lean more towards smaller red beans. You may find that when it comes to Belize food, the way you ask for rice and beans could make a difference. Occasionally, asking for rice and beans will result in the two being mixed and served together. Ask for beans and rice instead, and they tend to be served separately. Vegetables, fish, chicken, beef, or pork are all served with rice and beans with regularity in Belize. Some of the restaurants in Belize that offer Belize traditional food will often cook their rice and beans in coconut milk, which is a decidedly Caribbean flare. Plantains, which are a less-sugary cousin of the banana, are often served fried with meals, which is a tasty Belize traditional food habit.
Starting the day off in Belize often means enjoying either "johnnycakes" or "fry jacks". Johnnycakes are basically fluffy biscuits that can be sliced open and served with butter, or stuffed instead with ham and cheese. Fry jacks are similar to johnnycakes, only they are deep-fried. You'll usually have the option to dust your fry jacks with sugar if you please. As the day wears on in Belize and your appetite returns, you can always head to one of the restaurants in Belize serving up BBQ chicken with rice, beans, and coleslaw at a good price, or you can see what the taco vendors and street vendors have to offer. Of course, you'll want to exercise care and caution when doing your Belize dining in the street. If it doesn't look fresh, it probably isn't, but overall, you can expect clean and convenient fare. Garnaches are popular Belize snack items, and they are akin to tostadas. A corn tortilla is fried, then topped with beans and cheese, and sometimes meat. On the Belize coast and on its cayes, panades are a popular snack item. Panades are basically empanadas, which are fried dough pockets stuffed with either cheese or meat, and sometimes dusted with sugar. Of course, since lunch is the biggest and most important meal of the day in Belize, you might just choose to order a multi-course meal. Do consider starting lunch off with conch fritters, which are among the most popular appetizers served at the restaurants in Belize.
There aren't too many national dishes in Belize, but if you were eager to try one before you return home from your Belize vacation, you can always try stew chicken. Stew beef and stew fish are pretty common as well, and these stews often employ red recado as one of their spices. Red recado is a popular Mexican spice blend originally developed by the Maya. The aforementioned stew chicken is a Belize traditional food dish that takes inspiration from the cooking habits of the Garifuna people here. Should you want to sample authentic Garifuna food, you might head to Dangriga, which is the Garifuna center of culture. Hudut, which is a fish stew served in coconut milk and accompanied by fried plantains, is something you'll have to try when in the Garifuna region. As you might imagine, seafood is a large component of Belizean food. Fresh fish of all kinds is served especially at the coastal restaurants in Belize, and conch, shrimp, and lobster are common as well when in season. Lobster season in Belize runs from mid-July to mid-February, and conch season from the end of September to the beginning of July. Shrimp doesn't exactly have a prime season in Belize, but it can be more difficult to come by between the months of June and August. If you really like lobster, you might schedule your Belize trip for mid-June. This is when the San Pedro Lobsterfest takes place on the island of Ambergris Caye. It's certainly among the most delicious of Belize festivals.
Fast food restaurants in Belize appear to be growing in number, and though it is hard to find a McDonalds or KFC here, you can find more and more places to nab a quick, cheap, and filling meal. In the larger Belize cities, and in the most popular Belize vacation destinations, getting a burger, some fries, or a slice of pizza is easier than ever, and various Indian and Chinese restaurants are springing up around the country. If you want to try a curious Belizean food item, then iguana might be on the menu. It tastes like chicken, which is actually true. Since Belize is a tropical country, treating yourself to fresh fruit is pretty much always an option. Melons, bananas, papayas, and pineapples are just some of the fruits grown in Belize. To wash a heavier meal down, you can always order a Belikin beer. The national beer of Belize, Belikin comes in a few different varieties, and it's definitely not hard to find. Either is rum for that matter.