One unique thing about Belize food is that it is a melting pot of the Caribbean, Central American, and even South American flavors. Thus, you’ll be served a dish that’s specifically indigenous to Belize when you order at your Belize hotel or resort. And it will almost certainly be delicious and unforgettable.
Belize is a fantastic mixture of cultures, from the Garifuna, Mayan, and Mestizo cultures to the expatriates from all around the world who call this country their home. The result is a delicious ethnic mix of varying influences, which means you are in for an irresistible treat for dining options. The food in Belize is so fresh, and the ingredients are local that you’ll often get a dish that has never been seen elsewhere.
So, what is the ultimate Belizean food you should definitely try? There are unlimited options to consider. The food is fresh and flavorful, but new visitors can find it challenging to figure out where and what to eat. This article will guide you on your hunt for the best foods in Belize that should make your mouth water just reading about them.
Also, if you’re curious about other food from the same region, check out our guide to the most popular Yucatecan dishes.
Best Belize Food
Fry Jacks are deep-fried dough pieces of flour that are popular for breakfast. They are typically eaten with sausage, bacon, beans, and eggs and come in various shapes that range from square to triangular.
The outer covering of the pastry is crispy and flaky, while the inside is soft with sweet, condensed milk. Depending on your taste buds, it goes well with butter, margarine, honey, or jam at any time of day.
They are most popular in rural areas, where they are often made fresh daily. You can also have them as a dessert, or if you decide on having them as breakfast, they pair great with fresh fruits, eggs, cheese, and bacon. Belizeans do take their breakfast seriously, and this is one Belizean meal that will make you lick your fingers.
Belizean Stew Chicken
Belizean chicken stew is extremely common and famous in Belize. As the name suggests, it is cooked in a gravy that gradually dries out before serving. A variety of spices and herbs are used to prepare this chicken delicacy, including tomatoes, cumin seeds, ginger, onions, and garlic.
The combined taste of all these spices and various other ingredients gives the dish that popping flavor!
Across Belize, everyone knows the dish by a unique name – Chicken Stew. Chicken Stew, or better said, Cracked Chicken, as it is called in Belize, is ubiquitous and famous.
Although the dish isn’t technically a stew but more of a soup because of its consistency, when ready to serve, it has a thick consistency, slowly drying up and becoming thicker and thicker before eventually becoming dry and crumbly.
Creole Rice and Beans
If there is one dish that completely embodies the Belizean culture, it would be Rice and Beans. However, the country’s staple food has become more than just a food — it is a way of life, a lifestyle, a tradition, and an identity.
Belize’s most famous dish is Creole fried rice and beans. This uniquely spicy yet healthy dish is usually red kidney beans, sausage, white rice, and assorted spices. During the cooking process, recado is employed (a seasoning made from annatto seeds, a native herb with a characteristic deep red hue) and garlic. Various methods can be used to prepare the meat portion, including frying, stewing, and grilling.
Creole Rice and Beans (also commonly called Rice and Beans) is a traditional Belizean delicacy. This is a standard Belizean food that is served on holidays, weddings, funerals, and other occasions.
These cornmeal and corn husk packages of flavor are pretty standard in the Belizean diet. Also known as tamales, these can be a favorite breakfast, lunchtime meal, or dinner time delight; a lot depends on your mood and where you are. There is nothing better than eating tamales whenever you want.
However, all tamales have in common that they are tasty beyond your wildest dreams and make for an exciting eating experience. Usually stuffed with chicken, pork, or both, tamales are squares of cornmeal encased in smoked plantain leaves and held together with string.
The Mayans took their cornmeal dough, formed it into a tube-like roll filled with various savory fillings, and wrapped it in corn husks. Often, a hot stone was used to heat the food and passed around the Mayan camp so everyone could enjoy this tasty treat.
Nowadays, various tamales are offered throughout Belize, but the most popular ones include chicken, pork, and cheese.
In Belize and the Yucatan peninsula, ceviches are a must-try food. Originally a Peruvian dish, ceviche has become a Belizean staple food. Either at a restaurant or at home, you can see them served with a basket of warm tortilla chips. The island’s most popular dishes are cracked conch, red snapper fish cakes, and coconut shrimp.
The first time I went to Belize, I never even guessed that Belizean food could taste that good! Ceviche is an example of this, I have tried some versions in many countries, but it is the Belizean version of this dish that will always be my highlight.
I guess ceviche would have to be the national dish since this is the type of food that can be found almost anywhere or prepared in every home, even if it’s not on the menu. Ceviche and conch fritters are so typical of Belize, where the seafood is prepared fresh every day, and many tourists try them while visiting.
Salbutes And Garnaches
Sometimes Garnaches are made with simple beans or refried beans. They’re little tortillas fried with beans, shredded onion, and cabbage, topped with cheese. I prefer black beans (there are both types of beans in Yucatan, but refried beans are commonly found in other parts of Mexico). I also like a little chipotle chili powder on top to add some flavor to my garnache.
Belize’s most famous street food is the garnache, also known as the sopaipilla in Guatemala. They’re also one of the cheapest to make and buy, making them the perfect budged food.
Salbutes, on the other hand, are a bit more complex and have more care put into the base, which often contains spices and recados with a softer texture. But, once again, it’s the little things that make the difference. Topped with avocado, cabbage, or chicken, they make the perfect Belizean snack.
Belizean Rum Cake
I am keeping the best of Belizean food for the last. Yes, it’s a dessert, and it is heavenly delicious.
And it is one of those cakes that only gets better with time. Incredibly moist, fluffy, and soft, thoroughly soaked in rum, Belizeans prepare this cake for Christmas. But you do not need to wait for the holiday season to try it. There are many bakery shops in Belize that sell it all year round.
Belizean Rum Cake has plenty of variations. Most commonly, they involve adding dry fruit to the base of the cake. Belizean rum completely soaks into it after baking. This treat will long remain on your palate and keep you dreaming of coming back to the island only if for a bite.
Wondering where to eat while in Belize? Here are some articles which will for sure help you find out the best restaurants around:
Belize is a true Caribbean paradise, a coastline that is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the world. The country offers countless things to see and do for those with adventurous spirits, with dense jungles, endless white-sand beaches, and richness of culture reflected perfectly in the cuisine.
Belizean food is a synchronized blend of all the influences throughout the country’s history; Mayan influences followed by the Spanish and British occupation left a significant mark on the Belizean plates. Due to this, Belizean food consists of creative Creole dishes, corned beef with an English touch, and fried paca (a jungle rodent) that is a Mayan delicacy. Rice and beans are the staples of most meals, as are coconut milk, plantains, and hot peppers.
The tradition of eating Mayan food is a wonderful experience for adventurous people. Give in to Belizean cuisine without fear of disappointment. If you were waiting for a sign to plan your trip to Belize, this visual teaser is all you need.