The food of our final Central American country was a good way to get back into an American mindset. Because Belize was a British colony, it has some typically western foods as well as Indian food. However, it also has lots of Mexican and Central American influence. Identifying a uniquely Belizean cuisine would be difficult, but overall the food was good.
Just around the corner from our hotel in San Ignacio, we found a corner store that had slush for 50 cents a glass (the sign says $1.00, but that is Belizean dollars, which are only worth $0.50 each). Root beer is one of my favorite flavors, so I was sad when they were out of "Root Bear", but I did try most of the other flavors in the two days that we were there.
We also found a very good Sri Lankan restaurant in San Ignacio. A bit pricey, but the tastiest food from that part of the world that we had eaten since leaving New York.
For dessert, we had what I would describe as a cinnamon flan. They said it was a traditional Sri Lankan dessert, though. Not bad, though things of this texture are always a bit weird.On our trip to the supermarket, we discovered a Laughing Cow cheese knock-off: Happy Cow. It is in almost every supermarket and comes from Austria. Tara says it is even better than Laughing Cow cheese. I just like the blatancy of the identity theft.
Tara was very excited to find a place in the market selling El Salvadorian pupusas. These weren't nearly as good as we had in El Salvador, but were certainly edible.
We also rediscovered cookies that we had first tried in Trinidad (where they are made). This was one of our favorite brands, though not as good as Wibisco coconut cookies. If you go to Trinidad, try them. If you go to Belize, settle for those pictured below.
In Belize, they have cohune nuts. Sort of like a small, super strong coconut, they taste like a low fat coconut (drier and harder). The locals make jewelry out of the super hard shells. I gnawed as much as I could out of this one before tossing it to the fish in the stream, which also seemed to enjoy it.
After our day tour to the cave, we had dinner with some of the people from our trip by going around to street vendors and seeing what was for sale. An Indian woman was selling homemade samosas (beef or veggie, so I guess she probably wasn't Hindu...). They were tasty enough that I ate about 5 of them and could have eaten about another 10 had she not sold out of them.
After the samosas, it was on to the hotdog vendor. He got our attention by shouting, "Try Johnny's Lime Juice: the best lime juice in Belize that has a name!" We started talking to him (he was clearly American) and he grew up in Philly, but has been living in Belize for a few years. The funniest part is that there is a second hot dog cart right next to him in a corner, which was nearly hidden from view. He tells us that this guy used to work for him and his brother at the hot dog cart, and that they would let him sleep on their couch. The guy then decides to open his own hot dog cart in the tiny, invisible corner behind the cart where he used to work. The vendor then loudly points out that he's sold about 20 hot dogs while we were standing there talking to him and this other guy hasn't sold any.
Following the hot dogs, we headed to the taco stand. The tacos were good, but not as good as the ones we had in Guatemala. Unlike some other people in Belize, the vendors did not laugh at me when I instinctively said "gracias" instead of "thank you".
Food in Belize was expensive. So, while I was eating all the great stuff in the posts above, I made Tara eat peanut butter and banana on a tortilla. Though if you are a regular reader of our blog, you realize that I wouldn't willingly give peanut butter to anyone else...
The British influence leads to an abundance of meat pies. They were tasty, though we thought a couple times about Sweeney Todd since we had absolutely no idea what kind of meat was in the pies. I can confirm that there was no kidney because I've had kidney pie and it tastes like pee.
While in the rainforest, we found these tiny wild guavas. They had about one bite each, which is about as much guava as I want to eat without sugar.
In Belize City, we bought this corn drink on the street. I would describe it as sweetened cream of corn soup in a cup. Not bad, but as much as I love corn, the concept of corn flavored drinks still seems strange to me.
During our stay on Caye Caulker, we quickly located the cheapest restaurants on the island. Our favorite was a Mexican place called El Something. No, that isn't the actual name, but I can't remember the name. If you are on Caye Caulker, it is a shack across from the bakery near the bank. These are salbutes, which are basically puffy fried tacos. Tasty. (*Note from Tara: The restaurant is called El Paso.)
While on the beach, a kid came up and tried to sell us something with coconut and brown sugar. After some price negotiations, we ended up buying this very tasty empanada-like item. We would later have something similar in Belize City which they called a coconut crust. Highly recommended if you can find them. I tracked the kid down the next day, but they had run out of coconut.
We became regulars at the bakery on Caye Caulker because they had these amazing cinnamon rolls. By regulars, I mean that we visited no less than seven times during the three days we were on the island. Based on my amazing hairstyle in this one, I think it is either right after scuba diving or right after we got up.
After walking around looking for restaurants with our new friends, Mandi and Tommy, we decided that this guy with a grill and this sign beside the road was the way to go for dinner. Why? 1.) The chef's special is garlic butter. 2.) As though we needed a second reason, it was the cheapest place around and all three picnic tables they had set up were packed. 3.) The guy who was in charge weighed at least 450 pounds, so clearly he liked the food.
Tara (and basically every customer except for me, who doesn't eat lobster) got the grilled lobster tails. Tara really liked them. So much so that I feared for the life of the lobsters we saw scuba diving the next day.
We had some squeezable jelly left that we needed to finish. Here is Tara doing her best to accomplish that.
If Belize has any traditional food, this would be it. Stew meat with rice that has some beans mixed in and a side of potato salad. It's not bad, and is certainly filling, but I'd rather have ice cream.
Look, my wish came true. If you are in Belize City, go to Blue Bird Cafe, where they have delicious ice cream that seems far cheaper than anywhere else in Belize. We tried the coconut, peanut, and cinnamon. So good that we had another pint for breakfast the next morning.
Belize also has something called fry jacks that seem popular no matter the time of day. Here are a couple of them. Essentially fried dough. I can understand why that is popular, but it seems like they should be served with a mound of sugar on them.
Here is Tara with her last yogurt of the Americas portion of the trip. This one is actually a Mexican yogurt. She liked it, but proclaimed it somewhat unhealthy. She also enjoyed the Western Dairies local yogurt made by Mennonites, but it cost about the same amount as a hotel room, so her consumption was limited.