Top 15 Most Popular Foods in Belize
Belize is a sub-tropical country, home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world and world-famous for its beautiful beaches.
Belize was first home to the Maya people, who lived there for years before other cultures migrated there. With these new arrivals came different cuisines and recipes that now have strong influences over most Belizean foods.
There are also strong influences of Spanish and African cuisines, as Belizeans have adopted recipes from these areas. Belize is a melting pot of diverse cultures. The inhabitants have unique languages, foods, dances and religious beliefs.
Belizean cuisine stems from crops, herbs, fish and seafood, red meat and poultry. The most popular dishes are made from rice, corn, plantains, coconut, vegetables, fish and seafood, cow, pig, chicken and fruits.
Some recipes have changed over the years due to cultural mixing and a generation gap. However, ancient recipes from ancestors are still prepared daily in Belize.
1. Conch Fritters
The conch season in Belize usual starts in October and ends in June. Conch fritters are prepared from conch that is chopped up into bite-size pieces and then mixed in flour, water and different Belizean herbs and spices.
This is a very popular appetizer in Belize that is in high demand during the conch season. It is mostly served in bars, where you will often have a choice of homemade ranch dressing or pepper sauce dip, which is usually very spicy.
2. Fry Jacks
While others eat bread for breakfast, most Belizeans prefer a serving of fry jacks (buns). These make a heavenly Belizean breakfast served with eggs, stewed beans, fried chicken, fried fish, stewed chicken, stewed beef, stewed pork, cheese and/or a choice of sausage or ham.
They can be served as stuffed fried jacks for lunch, similar to a burrito but without a tortilla. Fry jacks can also be eaten with a drizzle of honey or syrup.
3. Cochinita Pibil
This dish is a Belizean favorite. Pork meat is marinated and braised in achiote paste, orange juice and lime, slow-cooked and served with homemade corn tortillas and a chili and onion sauce.
It is one of the most ancient dishes in Belize, as it has been prepared for generations. Some people still prepare it in the ground, which is the old-fashioned way. Sometimes, it is sold by street vendors as pibil tacos or pibil fried tacos.
It is served all day at any meal time.
Mini corn tamales have been inherited from the slaves who were brought to the Caribbean. Dukunu is also called Duckanoo. These can be prepared sweet as a dessert, salty or with meat for lunch. Some serve it with the meat inside, while others serve it with the meat on the side.
5. Cassava Bread
In the Garifuna tradition, cassava bread is prepared on a comal, or metal pan, over a fire. It is unleavened and provides an easy-to-make bread to accompany any meal. This bread is hard but can be sprinkled with a little bit of water to make eating it a little easier.
It is usually served with fried fish and, in today’s modern world, it is served at parties as an appetizer with cheese dip.
In Belize today, cassava bread is like a rare but valuable jewel. It is not easy to make and, as a result, only some Garifuna women are making it. It requires a lot of hard work and time. However, it can now be purchased in stores in slices.
Salbutes are fluffy, fried corn tortillas served with stewed chicken, tomato and cabbage with cilantro on top, and is one of the most famous grab-and-go Belizean dishes. This finger food can be found along the road sides, as it is sold by many street vendors.
This traditional recipe was brought to Belize by the Garifuna people many years ago. This dish consists of coconut milk with fish and plantain. The only eating utensils you need to eat this dish are your hands.
Most Belizeans prefer to eat Hudut on a Saturday. This is a dish that requires a lot of work and, for that reason, is one of the most expensive dishes in Belize.
8. Johnny Cakes
Made with flour and coconut milk, this biscuit-like bread is served at breakfast. It is also used to make sandwiches filled with eggs, beans and cheese, or any meat of your choice.
Although Johnny cakes are mostly served at breakfast, many wives and mothers prepare them as lunch sandwiches for family members to take to work or school. These are called Johnny cake sandwiches.
This Belizean dish, which is strongly influenced by Mexican cuisine, is one of the most succulent foods to eat. Belizean tamales are filled with an assortment of meats, cheese, chilies and vegetables.
Made of ‘masa,’ or corn dough, it is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf, which is discarded before serving. This dish is served any time of day and tastes better when served hot.
Also called relleno negro, or black dinner, Chimole is a famous Belizean black soup. This dish is of Maya origin and is very popular in Belize.
Chimole is a mouth-watering chicken stew with lots of flavorful spices as well as black achiote paste and is served with boiled eggs and tortillas. This is a very flavorsome delicacy, which is commonly served at lunch time.
Although it may not be an original of Belize, this Peruvian dish with a twist is one of the healthiest dishes you can find in Belize.
Chopped-up onions, tomatoes, sweet peppers, octopus, conch, shrimp, fish or lobster tossed in lime is how it is prepared, and it is eaten with fried corn tortillas. It is mostly eaten as a boca (appetizer/snack) while having a drink.
12. Meat Pie
The Belizean meat pie is made with ground beef, chicken or pork meat, gravy sauce, lots of herbs and spices including thyme, small onions, tomato sauce, sweet pepper, habanero pepper and black pepper. These meat pies are small and look like crusty cupcakes. Because of their size, they are usually consumed as a snack.
They are often served with Marie Sharp’s hot sauce.
Sere is a Belizean original that has been adopted from the famous dish Hudut of the Garifuna culture (#7 on this list). It is made with fish, coconut milk, cassava, yam, banana, carrots, onions and numerous other vegetables. It is most commonly served with white rice or cassava bread.
14. Boil Up
Boil Up is a starchy but hearty meal.
As its name suggests, everything in this dish is boiled. It consists of vegetables, fish, eggs, seafood, pig tail, cassava, ripe plantains, potatoes, yam, coconut and a tomato sauce that brings added flavor to it. It is mostly served with dumplings.
15. Rice and Beans
This is the all-time favorite of Belizeans. Beans are boiled and then mixed with rice and coconut milk and cooked until soft and ready to eat.
Rice and beans can be served with fried fish, stewed chicken, baked chicken, turkey or any choice of meat. Sides like coleslaw, fried ripe plantains, potato salad, macaroni salad or veggies are usually served with this fine dish. Rice and beans is usually consumed on Sundays in Belize.
The beans can also be stewed and spread on top of the rice with a choice of meat.