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An Overview of Belizean Cuisine and Food Culture

by Belize Globe

Belize’s cuisine is mainly inspired by the Mexican and Caribbean diets, and a little less by the Anglo-Saxon. Its basic ingredients are rice and beans, often eaten with barbecued meat, pork, veal, fish or vegetables. Other Belizean foods are tamales, pozol, panuchos, and fish-based dishes, as well as the traditional sopa de caracol, with a very particular flavor and a thick consistency when added okra, potato, sweet potato, cassava, toasted flour and a touch of chili. Coconut milk and fried plantain add a truly tropical flavor to the dishes.

It seems the locals have adapted food and cooking techniques from many early settlers, including the cuisines of Spanish and African too.

It can be hard to find a truly distinctive Belizean cuisine. However, the country surely offers a delightful culinary journey for all those who come here to enjoy some regional delicacies. Belizean culture and cuisine showcases a mixture of many regional traditions and food habits, with major influences from Mexican, Caribbean, and Mayan culinary methods.

If you are looking forward to try some authentic Belizean flavors, then here are top twenty things to eat in Belize.

1. Belizean rice and beans:

Just like the Mexican cuisine, rice and beans combo is also quintessential part of the Belizean meal. However, Belizeans love their rice flavored with coconut milk. Often, this dish is served with potato salad, traditional baked plantain, coleslaw and Marie Sharp pepper sauce.

2. Meat Dishes:

Of course, Belizeans will not disappoint all meat eaters. Their traditional meal always includes a choice of meat dish, either beef, pork, chicken, or fish. Belizeans also love other varieties of meat, including the famous gibnut meat dishes, and meats of deer, iguana and Hicatee. Usually, the meat portion is grilled, stewed or fried.

3. Belize Fruit Cake:

Belizeans prepare and enjoy their traditional rum-based fruit cake, especially during holidays. This cake is baked from preserved fruits and then being doused with a generous portion of dark local or Caribbean rum. Belize fruit cake is aged at least for a week before serving.

4. Local Taco:

Tacos are common in Belize too. Just like in Mexican cuisine, here tacos are also served with shredded meat, chopped veggies with a major portion of cabbage and onions, and cilantro. Belizeans eat tacos as a quick and snack-size meal.

5. Fried Plantain:

In Belize, plantain is found in abundance. Belizean connoisseurs love traditional baked or fried plantains served as a side with an elaborated meal. This sweet golden-brown tasty side is a perfect side dish for any meal.

6. Cashew and Craboo Wines:

This unusual wine is made from fermented cashew fruit. Belizeans love this traditional liqueur with their main dishes. This mild and tasty wine is a must-try for all liqueur lovers. Some winemakers also infuse flavors of mango and blackberry with the cashew wine.

7. Johnny Cakes:

These small baked hearty cakes, also known as Johnny cakes, are traditional favorites. These cakes are made with coconut milk and flour, baked to perfection in the traditional clay fireplace. Locals serve the Johnny Cake slathered with butter alongside cheese and re-fried beans.

8. Fry Jack:

Fry Jack is a must-try food in Belize for all fried food lovers. This food is made of a mixture of flour, shortening, flavors, and soda, deep fried to perfection. Fry Jacks are often served hot with the main course.

9. Ceviche:

Belizeans make their ceviche differently, by using only conch, lion fish, octopus and shrimp. This dish boasts a mixed flavor of parboiled seafood and marinades made from lime juice, cilantro, pepper, and chopped onions, cucumber, and Habanero pepper.

10. Meat Pies:

Belizeans prepare some delicious meat pies with stewed and fresh meat.

11. Cochinita Pibil:

This unique slow smoked Belize dish of Cochinita Pibil is made from roasted pork dish flavored with annato seed paste and fresh onion, cilantro, tomato and Habanero pepper sauce. Locals cook this dish in a clay oven with firewood, until the meat is tender and succulent.

12. Tamales:

Tamales are a staple of everyday meal in Belize. This cornmeal dumpling stuffed with meat includes chunks of tomatoes and green peas, unlike the Mexican tamale.

13. Chicken Escabeche:

This mouth-watering Belize-style chicken soup is made from roasted spices, fresh chicken, and lots of flavors. This exotic soup is a dish influenced by Spanish and Yucatec Maya cuisine.

14. Belizean Desserts:

Belizeans love sweet dishes too, such as the local favorite Soursop ice cream, made from Soursop fruit mixed with condensed milk and other flavors. Other favorite desserts are Cassava pudding, craboo wine and nance ice cream. This is made from the fruit that grows all over the countryside.

15. Belizean Candies:

Enjoy some classic Belizean candies, such as the coconut sweet, sesame seed candy or wangla, fudge and the local favorite Cutubrute.

16. Garnaches:

This classic fried corn dish with beans, onions and cheese is a must try too.

17. Panades:

Traditionally, Belizeans make this dish with cornmeal filled with fish or beans and fry it to perfection. The dish includes similar ingredients like Tamale, but made with a different cooking technique.

18. Belizean Cowfoot soup:

This traditional soup is a must try in Belize. Made with meats of cow foot, chunks of vegetables, thick stock and spices, this hearty soup is a traditional favorite.

19. Belikin Beer:

Belizeans prepare this beer using traditional methods. Belikin beer can be found in most of the local restaurants.

20. The Queen’s Rat: The dish is made with a smoked skinned gibnut. Belizeans first made this dish as a part of the special royal dinner for Queen Elizabeth, during her visit.

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