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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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The Central American country of Belize enjoys a cuisine that crosses many cultures due to the different ethnicities that can be found here. Sharing a border with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras has also brought many different flavors to the food of the country and with the many native varieties of fruits and vegetables, there is no lack of fresh food.

Rice and red kidney beans are two main staples of the traditional cuisine. The manner in which they are cooked takes many forms. Then can be coked together for the traditional "beans and rice" dish or added to other foods, such as different meats and poultry. Often they are served with the dishes as a side dish.

Stewed chicken is one of the dishes for which Belizean cuisine is best known. Every visitor to the country should try this dish and taste the great flavor. Before the chicken is cooked it is rubbed with recado, an anato paste, and then sprinkled with seasonings, such as salt, pepper and garlic and then browned. Once the chicken has been browned to perfection it is then cooked in water with onions, sweet peppers and vinegar. The traditional method of serving stewed chicken is to serve it with white rice, potato salad and fried plantains.

The Garifuna people of Brazil also have their own native dishes. One of these is a rich and tasty fish soup known as serre la sus. The fish is simmered in a mixture of coconut milk, onions and spices and served with fresh plantains with cassava bread.

You will also find traces of Mexican cuisine in the food of Belize, such as enchiladas and due to the wide expanse of seacoast, fresh fish forms an important part of the country's cuisine. Lobster is available in just about all seafood restaurants as is shrimp, crab and squid. At the beginning of the lobster fishing season each year there are lobsterfests in just about all of the seaside towns and villages.

Although you can have your fill of fresh fruits and vegetables at any time of the year in Belize, May and June are the best months for mangoes. Pineapple and watermelon are readily available as well as local varieties of spinach and squash. Visitors to Belize delight in the fact that they can actually enjoy fresh coconut milk fresh from coconuts just cut from the trees.

Every village has its own personal favorite but in order to fully enjoy the tastes of the traditional food and cuisine of Belize, you will have to spend a lot of time crisscrossing the country.

by Frances Stanford for

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Terrain of rugged, mountainous uplands and wet coastal lowlands set the tone and pace in the southern area of Belize. Distinct ethnic ties and customs are strong, but traditionally food in the south is similar to Mayan food with a profusion of nuts and seeds, cocoa, and a wide variety of spices.

Northern Belize resembles Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula demographically and culturally. The language and customs of the Yucatan and Guatemala influence food choices, are a part of daily life, and reflect the annual harvest.

Corn is a prominent ingredient in most dishes like tortillas, tacos, or tamales. Black beans, squash, plantains and peppers accent most meals.

Seafood is fresh and plentiful and a staple along the coasts. Conch and lobster top the list of traditional foods, and when in season, is relatively inexpensive. Colorful Stella bone fish, grouper, and snapper are some of the wide variety of fin fish traditionally included in the daily diet.

Hot sauce of habanera peppers adorns almost every dining table.

Belize rice possibly earns the title,"national dish". Rice and small red beans cooked in coconut milk, with grated coconut and lots of black pepper, accompany almost every dish.

Vegetables are not prominent in the cuisine. Most restaurants serve a simple cabbage salad or a salad of potatoes or beets. Tomatoes are used for salsas.

Mangoes, papayas, pineapples, melons, bananas and star fruit are plentiful and often replace vegetables in dishes and menus. Coconut pie and bread pudding are popular desserts.

Stews of chicken, beef, and fish use a wide range of spices, including annatto seed. Chimole, or black gumbo, is highly popular.

Roasted and grilled meat and poultry are common in Belize. Gibnuit, iguana, wild boar, and armadillo are some of the more interesting and unusual wild game found on many menus.

Breakfast is usually scrambled eggs and refried beans. Baked Johnnycakes or deep-fried fry jacks dusted with powdered sugar accompany.

Sandwiches and snacks have a heavy Mexican and American influence. Roadside carts sell tacos, and tamales, meat pies and deep-fried empanadas; Conch fritters, hot and crispy, are popular and tasty appetizers. Fish, shrimp, and conch burgers served on plain white bread are excellent.

Eating traditional food in Belize can be a delicious lesson in georgraphy and culture of the country, Some dishes are hot and spicy, others are filled with deep and wondrous flavor; all speak volumes about the country and its heritage.

by Joan Mccord for

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Food in Belize generates a happy plate! I was in Belize for six weeks and in a word the food there is fresh. Fish and shrimp are always a good choice served with rice and beans. Fresh salad and fruit are usually on the side as well. When I say fresh I don't mean fresh off the truck. Fresh�with no preservatives. Besides fish or shrimp, other choices included chicken, pork and beef which were heavenly in their own right.

I expected Mexican Cuisine but got much more. I can't identify an exact category for the cuisine in Belize but really, who cares, it's fabulous. Rice is cooked in coconut milk and it's worth writing home about. Flavors explode in your mouth like popping the top off a shaken can of soda. Don't expect fast food it usually takes a bit to be served but it's well worth the wait.

My meals were accompanied by either a Belkin Beer or freshly squeezed cantaloupe, pineapple or watermelon juice. Every one of these drinks is unique and crazy delicious-I quickly became addicted.

Chinese food is popular in Belize. Most grocery stores and about half the restaurants are owned by Chinese people. Mexican food is authentic and delicious, very different from the Tex Mex the US has grown to love.

I do feel the need to extend a warning about one of their entr�es. Tamales. Mercy! I had a bad experience with a tamale in Belize. I love tamales and had craved one for several days. Difference in Belize is you can't run down to the local diner and get what you want. Yes, they have menus but a lot of times don't have what's on the menu to serve. As I walked around a village I ran upon a chalkboard that had TAMALES written across it. I got so excited and wasted no time plopping down at a table and ordering me up two tamales. I really wanted four because they're not very big but I thought I should be polite. I waited with anticipation of how good this tamale would be�everything I had eaten so far was so good, I knew the tamales would blow me away.

Finally, the plate was sat down in front of me. I was blown away already�couldn't get my fork fast enough. The tamales were bigger than a three egg omelet! There was no way I could eat two-so much for being polite. I took my first bite of the outside. WOW! It was awesome. I hurried to get the second bite in my mouth. I stopped chewing, my eyes popped out of my head as I spit out a large bone. Now, where I come from we have no bones in our tamales and this really raised my concern. I forked through my tamale and realized�they use the entire chicken. I said�the entire chicken. The things I found in my tamale made me gag right out loud. On my plate were bones, feet, butt-holes and beaks. I didn't eat anymore of that tamale. I gave them to a homeless man. In fact it took me a few days to get back to eating regular meals. I was traumatized by a tamale in Belize.

I highly recommend the cuisine in Belize but run from the tamales.

by Roxanna Kay for

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