We just got back from Belize, and I think I am feeling the most well-rested and happy that I can remember. What an amazing place!! We stayed at a small resort in a little coastal village, and everything was perfect… except the food. In an attempt to cater to American tourists, our resort and all of the others in our little strip of coastline served things like burgers, nachos, and wings, instead of the local cuisine. Dave and I managed to corner every local we encountered and grilled them about their local food culture, and soon found some other dining options more suited to our desire to experience real Belizean food.
Belize is comprised of many different cultures and cultural influences, from Mayan to African to Amish. The main culture of the region we visited is Garifuna, descendants of Carib Indians and Black Africans originally from the island of St. Vincent. This dish, pictured below, is called Hudut and is their most popular. The fish is caught fresh each day, and is simmered in a coconut “gravy” with aromatics. It is served with mashed plantains and sweet potatoes and is really delicious.
We also spent lots of time staring at the sea and drinking tropical concoctions, like this blended pineapple drink:
On our way to visit the Mayan ruins of Xunatunich, near the Guatemalan border, we stopped in a town called St. Ignacio. This town is second in size only to Belize City, and is a mix of Creole, Mestizo, Chinese, Mennonite and more. Their most famous local dish is called beansandricechickenandsalad (said like it is one word), and we stopped at a great place called Benny’s to enjoy ours.
It came with this watermelon drink, which is simply watermelon thrown into the blender. It was perfectly refreshing, and such a welcome change from the idea of sugary sodas popular here. We couldn’t get enough of it.
I would definitely recommend Belize if you haven’t already been. It is simply beautiful, and rich with cultural and natural beauties. There are jungle preserves to explore, caves to spelunker, coastline to enjoy and of course the best scuba and snorkeling in the world. Or, if you are like me and want to stare into the blue sea for an entire day, that works too. Just pack LOTS of sunscreen, and don’t trust your husband when he tells you that you can’t get burned in the shade!