Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#383229 - 07/09/10 09:08 AM The best tamales on the Hummingbird Highway
Marty Offline

If you have ever headed down south, the chances are that you may have met Bertha Lisbey. Lisbey is the owner of a small business on the Hummingbird Highway, who for an unbelievable six decades, has been selling those delicious hot tamales to the thousands that have stopped by her snack shop. So what has been the driving force behind her entrepreneurship through the good and hard economic times? News’ Five Marion Ali spoke to this unique woman and files this report.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Seventy-two year old Bertha Lisbey has been making tamales for over sixty years for a living. A widow and mother of twelve, Lisbey says her humble business has enabled her to raise and school her children and now it is her grandchildren that are benefiting from it. Originally from San Ignacio, Cayo, she’s famous to most travelers who frequent the Hummingbird Highway who stop in at her snack shop at the roadside at mile twenty-seven in Saint Margaret’s Village. For those travelers, the landmark location has either fed them or their parents. In short, Ms. Bertha has literally fed generations of hungry travelers using that portion of the highway. And despite the present economic crunch, Ms. Bertha says she has her loyal patrons who seek out her tasty tamales even at her house.

Bertha Lisbey, Owner of Bertha’s Tamales

Bertha Lisbey

“It’s good because now everybody weh pass dehn hungry, dehn stop fi dehn tamales. If I am not here, di place close, dehn goh home and they eat home, everybody. Sometimes dehn bus bruk down, di crowd come here or dehn go home you know and buy tamales. They go to my house, sometimes yah close.”

But after six decades at it, Ms Bertha is thinking about throwing in the towel.

Bertha Lisbey

“I’m getting tired, I’m getting old.”

Marion Ali

“Have you found a successor to continue the business?”

Bertha Lisbey

“Well yes, maybe one ah my daughter wah tek it over, you know because as I seh I done tired.”

Marion Ali

“What got you into this business of making tamales?”

Bertha Lisbey

“My granma teach me to make tamales. She die already, yes. And ih left mi di mek tamales still. When my husband was living dah he dah di one weh tell mi. Soh him mek a shed right by Poor Man Refridge, dah right deh I was selling. Den only James Bus mi used to stop deh. Well when Z-Line see dat James Bus stop dehn stop too, and right soh. Now everybody stop, tourists – I can’t complain. I got wah day like Friday when tourists pass they stop here. They like the tamales and they like the pepper and dehn get red like macaroni.”

Manuel Itza and Abner Milian are not exactly tourists, but they’ve been avid supporters of Ms Bertha’s fire hearth tamales.

Manuel Itza, Motorist, Hummingbird Highway

“Every time I come I –cause I like the tamales, ih very nice.”

Marion Ali

“How long have you been eating from her?”

Manuel Itza

“It’s been – I know her from a long time ago so I have already eaten her tamales since I started coming this way. I saw her and I decided I need to eat.”

Abner Milian, customer, Bertha’s tamales

“The tamales taste good right and dehn noh got no other place yah weh sell food. Soh dis dah di only place weh I know too.”

But while she has made a name for herself over the years, she also had a considerate philanthropist in her corner several years ago.

Bertha Lisbey

“I mi used to be di agent from Coca Cola soh since I mi got mi lee business up dah di Poor Man Refridge, I went to Belize and I went to talk to Mr. Barry Bowen and I tell ah weh happen and ih seh “Sure Lisbey ih seh I will help you”. One day he come here and ih seh Lisbey I want a tamale. I tell ah ok Mr. Barry Bowen. I give him that tamales. But dehn time ah never got dat yoh know. I mi only got dis. And he tell me “Lisbey you noh want wah Coca Cola house?” I tell ah sure, why not? If you gimme I agree to it. Ih seh “okay den, eena three months time I will send it for you.” But I noh believe it and I tell ah “Mine Mr. Barry Bowen outta sight outta mind” I tell he. “No, no Lisbey” ih seh, “I will send it for you”. We were sitting down right here and my husband right here and we see the truck di come di bring di lee house. When I see the house is for me. I she what, I glad. And dehn put it right here and my husband fix there and they fix it. I noh pay one copper.”

And now while she’s thinking of giving it all up, there’s one thing Ms Bertha is not willing to part with anytime soon, the secret recipe.

Bertha Lisbey

“My secret – noh.”

Marion Ali

“Okay, you won’t give me your secret.”

Bertha Lisbey

“It’s not good to say your secret.”

Marion Ali

“Except your daughter who wah tek ova di business.”

Bertha Lisbey

“Nor she wah seh it.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

#383237 - 07/09/10 10:26 AM Re: The best tamales on the Hummingbird Highway [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Absolutely amongst the best tamales I've had, at $2.00 each.
Belize based travel specialist


Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker

TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
Who's Online
0 registered (), 13 Guests and 6 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,632 Registered Members
44 Forums
63,698 Topics
461,211 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 02:16 PM

AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.