I think it’s high time that I shared with y’all some of the best places and things to eat while in Belize. Most of my place recommendations are in PG, but I had to throw in two great places in Cayo because they are so stinking fabulous. So, in no particular order, things to eat on your next trip to Belize…
10. It would be silly of me not to first recommend the Driftwood Cafe, which is right on Front Street, below the ProWorld office, and owned by Jill Burgess, who is also ProWorld’s chef for all of the groups that come to PG. She and her assistant, Andrea, make some darned good food, and I love to enjoy breakfast in the form of a fresh callaloo omelette with mashed beans and homemade wheat flour tortillas. Jill’s lunch menu changes everyday, and is vegetarian about 98% of the time. Some of my favorite items she’s served are her oatmeal breaded eggplant and her roasted snapper. Delicious!
9. Chicken burritos. Not from any particular place, although the best one I’ve had is from a place in Cayo (on Burns Street) called Hanna’s. Reasons the chicken burrito is awesome: it’s served on a delicious, fresh flour tortilla, the chicken is seasoned really nicely, and most establishments traditionally serve them without cheese or cream–a Sarah Whitman blessing!
8. Creole bread! I buy mine from the twins, Zephaniah and Zechariah, who come by the office most every day and sell the bread for fifty cents a roll. It’s always warm and delicious and soft. Fifty cents could pretty much not be better spend it you tried.
7. White rice and stew beans. As opposed to “rice and beans,” which is entirely different. While I know white rice is definitely not the healthiest thing or the most exciting, it’s the beans that really merit our applause and appreciation. The Belizeans do a generally splendid job of seasoning their pintos to perfection, and when I order a traditional Belizean lunch of “rice, stew beans, and stew chicken,” my excitement is almost entirely relevant to the presence of those yummy beans on my tray!
6. Chocolate. Organic, and made from locally produced cacao beans. Sometimes flavored with mint, or pepper, or coconut, or cocoa nibs. Need I say more?
5. While I wish it weren’t the case, the name of Belize’s most notable mixed drink is, indeed, the “panty ripper.” I was going to refuse to drink it out of moral opposition to its name, but last night, I went to Bamboo Chicken and the waiter misinterpreted my order of a coconut rum and Coke and instead brought me out the dreaded ripper of panties. And I must admit that it was delicious. Quite delicious, in fact. All of the good mixed drinks have inappropriate names…figures…
4. Fresh watermelon. Now that I’ve gotton over my fear of watermelon injections a la Peru, I am living the good life. A slice of watermelon every day or two, makes a woman healthy, wealthy, and wise. 🙂
3. Yampi is something I’ve discovered thanks to Jill, who often includes mashed yampi as a side dish for her lunch entrees. It’s basically a purple yam that you have to eat cooked or you die. Seriously, they’re toxic if eaten raw, but super delicious once Andrea’s finished with them! They remind me a little bit of Peruvian purple potatoes.
2. Iced tea! Sounds like a weird highlight in all of Belize, but I had some of the best iced tea ever while in Cayo, funnily enough at Hanna’s, the same home of my favorite chicken burrito! I asked the waitress about the iced tea and what made it so good. She told me that she used twelve passion fruit teabags and soaked them in cold water for a long while and then set the pitcher of tea out in the sun for a full day. Then she serves it over ice and adds some sugar. Doesn’t sound that hard, but I have a strange suspicion that trying to recreate it would result in failure.
1. And finally, my favorite thing I’ve eaten so far, coconut crusts! They were prepared by Abellina, who is married to Juan, the owner of Cyrila’s Chocolate here in Toledo. Juan and Abellina are not only an awesome business team, but Juan is a certified Belizean tour guide AND they’re a ProWorld homestay family! We are a lucky bunch to know them! Anyway, coconut crusts look like pie crust pockets filled with sweetened coconut, and they are delicious on their own or topped with jam or peanut butter.
I hope that this little culinary list has made some of you want to try and prepare yourselves a Belizean specialty or two. And I’m pretty sure I could mix a panty ripper with the best of them, so if that’s what you crave, I’ll be back in the US before you know it! 🙂
Oh, and a disclaimer. I took none of these photos. Hocked them all from Google images. Apologies! I’m sure I’ll have more SW originals real soon.