Culinary Styles

Photo credit: © Chabil Mar Villas
 

Belize's unique location, lined by a Caribbean reef and covered in lush tropical jungle, meanwhile surrounded by many different cultures, gave rise to a unique culinary style when mixed with the island's British heritage.

When traveling you're sure to get a taste of the culture you're visiting, and the taste can be a literal one as often as not. Here you'll experience culinary delights combining Caribbean, Mexican, African, Spanish, and Mayan styles into something that is a distinct part of Belize and its culture.

Most meals are served with a side of rice and beans. In Belize you'll most often find that the rice and beans are cooked together with a little bit of coconut milk. This will be served alongside nearly any main course, which is most often some kind of meat.  In fact, the national dish of Belize is Belizean Rice & Beans with Fish Stew.  This dish not only features the main ingredients, which are listed in the title, but coconut milk for flavor.

...lobster is top-notch...

 

Due to it's location, Belize specializes in seafood. Here it is a culinary delight to eat red snapper and grouper, though barracuda steak, conch fritters, and shrimp never disappoint. Lobster, however, is what draws customers. While the lobster is top-notch, it is only allowed to be caught legally during the lobster season. Any lobster served between February 15 and June 15 will be frozen from the previous season. Similarly, conch may not be caught from July through September.

If seafood isn't your style, chicken and other meats are widely available. The creole culinary style lent itself to the creation of a dish available across Belize: stew chicken. You'll also find stew beef and stew fish, and all are highly seasoned dark stews.

Those with more adventurous tastes may want to try two local options. Belize is home to both the iguana, known as "bamboo chicken," and the gibnut, also called "The Queen's Rat," a rodent that is commonly eaten and was served to Queen Elizabeth of England on her visit.

While vegetarians might be hard pressed to find dining options among Belize's creole cuisine, the Chinese food that travelers find throughout the country will offer some solid options. Other ethnic foods, especially of the Far Eastern variety, are also becoming popular in Belize City.

Maps

The most popular seasoning in Belize is Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce. This spicy topper will be found at nearly every restaurant, as well as most locals kitchen tables.

Once you've sunk your teeth into a bite of well-seasoned creole cuisine, many travelers will want to wash it down with a local beverage. Belize's own beer, Belikin, has five styles available. There are lager, stout, Lighthouse, Premium, and Supreme varieties. Local cashew and berry wines are also an interesting change of pace, though other wines may be difficult to find and expensive. For those looking for something a little stronger, Belizean rum is the way to go, though there is local Belizean gin, vodka, and brandy as well.

On the less potent side, travelers can sip on tea, which is easy to find in this formerly-British country. Coffee, on the other hand, will almost always be instant. Fruit juices are surprisingly hard to come by, but sodas are widely available. One distinctly Belizean drink is seaweed, which combines seaweed, sugar, cream, and cinnamon.

A Note: Water in Belize is not considered to be safe to drink.  It is advised that vacationers choose to always buy water or boil it before drinking.

There are a number of ways for you to determine where you would like to dine once you arrive in Belize.  First, you can search our Restaurant Directory if you have a hint of an idea regarding which type of cuisine you would like to eat.  Click here if you know the name of a particular restaurant that you want more information about.  Secondly, you can find places to eat based on location.  By looking through the accommodation options listed on our A to Z: Hotels in Detail page, you can find a wealth of information about each of the island's hotel properties, including which restaurants are located in the areas surrounding them.  Finally, take a look at what restaurants the island's hotels have to offer, by reading our article on Best Hotels for Dining Options.

Unusual foods and unique drinks make up the culinary style in Belize, but it's more than enough to keep visitors interested.

 

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