Coast effective: a culinary adventure in Belize
A tiny gem in the Caribbean’s crown, Belize is a cultural and culinary melting pot. Words and pictures by Victoria Burrows
“Garifuna cuisine is a big part of the culinary culture of my country and, to me, hudut is the best Garifuna dish. It tastes like home … wherever that may be,” says Chantel, a passionate young Belizean whose family has lived in this tiny Central American country for generations. “You’ll see what I mean,” she adds with a smile, as two steaming bowls are set down on the plastic tablecloth before us.
I do see what she means. There is something comforting about this dish, the softness of the coconut broth lightened with a hint of herbs and spice. The fish, caught that morning by village fishermen, falls apart at the lightest touch. It’s beautifully balanced, unchallenging, nostalgic. We eat in silence.
Chantel is Creole – of mixed European and Caribbean blood – and she represents just one of the many ethnic groups who call this country home. Alongside Creoles live Mayans (pre-Columbian natives in Belize and other parts of Central America), Mestizos (a mix of Spanish and Mayan), Mennonite farmers, East Indians, Arabs, Chinese, Britons, Americans and Canadians – and, of course, the Garifuna.
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