Dig in to the Top 10 Belize Foods and Beverages
Don’t read this article on an empty stomach. There’s a chance you will head for a local eatery after ingesting the last tidbit. Cuisine in Belize is hearty, unique and delicious and Belize beers and wines are two of Central America’s biggest secrets, so go ahead, tuck in your napkin, grab a fork and dive in.
1. Craboo and Cashew Wines.
A thriving Belizean viniculture produces several fruit wine varieties, the most exotic of which are Craboo and Cashew wines, but unlike the nuts, the cashew fruit resembles an apple (see photo above). These fruity wines may seem innocent but they’re potent. Indulge too enthusiastically and suffer consequences. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
2. Belikin Beer.
The brand, Belikin, translated from Mayan as Road to the Sea, tastes like a German pilsner and has captured international beer-crafting awards. Beer drinkers prefer Belikin out of loyalty (it’s the only beer made in Belize) and because imports are so heavily taxed, price can mean the difference between ordering one brew or two!
3. Johnny Cakes.
These small, baked bread cakes are eaten slathered with butter, but here’s where resemblances to waffles and pancakes end: refried beans, cheese, stewed beef or chicken toppings are dumped on top and served beside scrambled or fried eggs. Think of this as a Belize fast food breakfast minus Ronald McDonald.
4. Belize Rice and Beans.
In Belize, rice and beans are cooked together in coconut milk. Despite the double starch factor, it’s traditionally served with potato salad and often accompanied by fried, stewed or grilled meats or fishes cooked in local spices. Filling and plentiful, eat too much and you could gain weight.
This elegant shrimp- or conch-based dish employs spices and lime juice to marry the sea food with sliced, chilled cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Black and Habanero peppers bring the heat. Ceviche is traditionally served with corn tortillas and more Habanero pepper, just in case the chef didn’t spice things up enough for your palate.
6. Cochinita Pibil.
This Yucatec/Maya-rooted slow roasted pork recipe could become your favorite Belizean bite. The pork is cooked with onion, tomato, cilantro and Habanero pepper sauce, after being marinated in sour orange juice and spices, but before being wrapped in plantain leaves and roasted underground or in a clay oven.
7. Chicken Escabeche.
Your mother would prescribe this chicken dish because it’s the quintessential feel-good food, whether you’re sick or not. In a bowl, it looks like a traditional chicken soup, but the taste is like no other. The addition of Jalapeno peppers even adds medicinal properties and there are plenty of onions in the broth, too.
It matters not whether you’ve tasted tamales in every other Central or South American nation. These are unique. Cornmeal squares are stuffed with meats and/or beans and re-stuffed into plantain leaves and tied with string before being roasted over an open fire. Cheap, nutritious and healthy, they’re Belize manna from heaven.
9. Belize Fruit Cake.
It could be Christmas year-round in Belize because either the white or the black versions make perfect desserts. The fruit cake prep process consists of batter laced with preserved fruits and rum and aged for at least a week. Sure it’s a holiday specialty, but you’re on perpetual holiday in Belize, right?
10. Soups and puddings.
Who eats cake without ice cream? Try Soursop fruit, a tart/sweet combination if you need a light dessert or ask for a dish of Nance, made from another type of locally-grown fruit. If you prefer a creamier alternative, Cassava pudding, made with condensed milk, is very sweet. Can’t decide? Try all of them—out of curiosity, of course.