Breakfast in Belize
Breakfast in Belize
Breakfast in Belize is not for the small appetite or the sweet tooth. A true Belizean breakfast is homestyle food at it’s finest, just as long as you don’t forget the fry jacks.
Your first choice is eggs. Eggs alone, with meat product (like bacon or sausage) or you can go Mayan style and add tomatoes. Sometimes it’s mixed together, other times the meat comes on the side.
Every meal comes with refried beans. Delicious, slow cooked beans with onion and herbs.
You could just eat your beans and eggs with a fork, but really it’s more fun to play with your food. Every menu had a choice of tortillas, johnny cakes (a biscuit-like bread) or fry jacks. At my first breakfast in Belize, our waitress quickly rambled off the bread choices and the group paused “what was that last option? Fried what?” we asked. She quickly explained that it was a fried bread and I agreed to it simply out of curiosity. Best decision ever. A fry jack is a fried dough that puffs thanks the the generous amounts of baking powder in the mix. Ask any Belizean for the recipe and they can’t give it to you. Not because they won’t, but it’s a skill learned from birth. Mix some flour, baking soda, salt, water, and a bit of shortening together, let it rest and then fry. They can’t give you measurements, but they will stress that it’s the amount of baking powder that’s most important. Without much of a frame of reference I’d put them somewhere between a lighter, savory beignet and a middle eastern flat bread. These little pockets of dough can be torn apart and stuffed with the contents of your plate to make perfect little breakfast sandwiches. Slather them with beans, stuff in some eggs, and don’t forget the hot sauce.
While we’re on the topic of hot sauce, every table in Belize is blessed with a bottle of Marie Sharp’s hot sauce. Sometimes it was hot, sometimes fiery hot, and more times than not, a restaurant would even have a housemade blend of habaneros too. Also, a staple at breakfast was a habanero “salsa” (for lack of a better word.) Chopped onions mixed with a few slivers of the pepper along with some vinegar. On the first day, I timidly added piles of both to the side of my meal the first time. By the end of the week, however, I was seasoning with both liberally and a hot sauce addiction was born.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re not completely out of luck. Sometimes there will be a bowl of papaya jam, some tropical fruit served and other times a fruit pie will be hidden in with your fry jacks. I’m not sure how “traditional” this is, as the Belizeans in our group favored beans over jam to smother on their fry jacks. Fry jacks are, however, excellent with jam and that could have just been a matter of taste.
When we headed down further south to Dangriga on the coast, we were greeted with an entire fish instead of eggs one morning. Not exactly what I would have chosen for breakfast, but alongside some beans, hot sauce and fry jacks, it was excellent fuel for a day of snorkeling.
More often than not, you’re going to find instant coffee. Some places will have brewed coffee, but mostly in spots that cater to tourists. If you order coffee, your waitress will bring you a cup of hot water, some sugar and a “creamer” of condensed milk. The instant coffee is usually waiting for you at the table, so you’ll know what you’re in for when you sit down. Surprisingly, this caffeine addict found the instant not terribly frightening. But, if it turns you off, you might want to order tea instead.
Often dining in open air with mismatched dishes, eating breakfast in Belize feels laid back and unpretentious. If you need to eat and dash, you could do that. If you’d like to linger, chat, and take your time, you could do that too. The menu may be verbal or painted directly on the wall. It’s the kind of place where you feel like you can ask for what you want (once you know the drill) and they’ll make it work.
A standard meal of eggs, meat and sides and a juice or coffee will cost around $8-10 Belize. (That’s $4-5 American.)
Places to Try
Jo Mel In Corner 5th & 2nd St, Corozal Town
Zetina’s Fast Food Corozal Market, upstairs
Luigi’s Restaurant Main Street, Orange Walk
Pelican Beach Resort Dangriga
About the Author
Kelly Goodman writes about art, culture, and food for Travellious. She’s always searching for new ways to help travelers see and experience the beauty of life, whether it’s in an art museum or on their plate. Read all of Kelly’s posts, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on Twitter.