Sunday, 13 May 2018

BELIZE: Belizean Cuisine, Chickens Have An Unusually Rich Flavor,Belizeans Eat More Chicken And Fish, Than Beef Or Pork

Belizean cuisine is a combination of all ethnicities in the nation of Belize and their respectively wide variety of foods.

Breakfast consists of bread, flour tortillas, or fry jacks that are often homemade.

Fry jacks are eaten with various cheeses, refried beans, various forms of eggs or cereal, along with milk, coffee, or tea.

Lunch meals vary, from lighter foods such as rice and beans, tamales, panades - fried meat pies, escabeche - onion soup, chimole - soup, stew chicken and garnaches - fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw.

In the rural areas meals may be more simplified than in the cities.

The Maya use recado, corn or maize for most of their meals, and the Garifuna are fond of seafood, cassava particularly made into cassava bread or Ereba and vegetables.

Belize abounds with restaurants and fast food establishments selling fairly cheaply.

Local fruits are quite common, but raw vegetables from the markets less so.

Mealtime is a communion for families and schools and some businesses close at midday for lunch, reopening later in the afternoon.

Kriols in general eat a relatively balanced diet. The bile up or boil up is considered the cultural dish of the Belizean Kriols.

It is combination boiled eggs, fish or pig tail, with a number of ground foods such as Cassava, Green Plantains, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, cocoa, and Tomato Sauce.

In Belize, cassava is traditionally made into bammy, a small fried cassava cake inherited from the Garifuna.

The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick.

The cakes are lightly fried, then dipped in coconut milk and fried again.

Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack.

Cassava Pone is a traditional Belizean Kriol and pan-West Indian dessert recipe for a classic cassava flour cake sometimes made with coconuts and raisins.

The Kriol fish sere is similar to a dish from the Garifuna culture, called hudut.

There are two main types of hudut, one made with coconut milk, similar to the sere described above, but made with mashed half-ripe plantain.

The other type does not use coconut milk and may best be compared to a spicy fish soup. Bos a pepa, a Belizean pepper sauce made from the hot habanero or the milder jalapeno, is sometimes added.

Every single part of the coconut has some use: the dried husk for ornamental arts and for getting the fire going in a bar-b-cue.

The water as a refreshing beverage or as a mixer with alcoholic drinks; the meat grated for its milk for uses as described above, or in other preparations, like the distinctive coconut-flavored taste of Kriol bread and bun.

Dukunu is a dish made with sweetened starch usually cornmeal but can also be sweet corn wrapped and boiled in aluminum foil or a banana leaf.

Cahn Sham is ground or powdered sweetened parched corn. The dried grated coconut meat, after you mix with water and squeeze out its milk, provides the basis for many Belizean desserts.

Like coconut pie and tarts, coconut crust - the grated coconut is sweetened with sugar and baked in a flour crust folded over like a patty, tablata, which is the grated coconut meat mixed with thin ginger slices, sugar and water, baked and cut into squares.

There is also the version called cut-o-brute, which is made of chunks of coconut instead of the grated pieces.

Then there is trifle, made with half green grated coconut, milk, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon essence, margarine and baking powder similar to coconut cake; coconut fudge; and coconut ice cream.

Fry jacks or Johnny cakes accompanied by fried beans with sausage or eggs make a common Belizean breakfast.

Both the jacks and Johnny cakes are made from flour, but while the jacks are flattened and fried, the Johnny cakes are round fluffy savory biscuits, often topped by butter or a slice of cheese.

Among the main staples of a Kriol dinner are rice and beans with some type of meat and salad, whether potato, vegetable, or coleslaw, seafoods including fish, conch, lobster, some game meats including iguana, deer, peccary and gibnut; and ground foods such as cassava, potatoes, cocoa and plantains.

Fresh juice or water are typically served, occasionally replaced by soft drinks and alcoholic beverages such as homemade wines made from berries, cashew, sorosi, grapefruit and rice are especially common.

Typical desserts include sweets such as wangla and powderbun, cakes and pies, and pound potato pudding.

On a breakfast table are specially made bread and bun, johnny-cakes and fry-cakes also called fry jacks.

In recent years Kriols have adopted foods from other groups as they have adopted theirs.

There is a wide variety of Garifuna dishes, including the more commonly known ereba or cassava bread made from grated cassava or manioc.

This is done in an ancient and time-consuming process involving a long, snake-like woven basket (ruguma) which strains the cassava of its juice. It is then dried overnight and later sieved through flat rounded baskets (hibise) to form flour that is baked into pancakes on a large iron griddle.

Ereba is fondly eaten with fish, hudutu or pounded plantains or even alone with gravy or lasusu.
Others include: Bundiga or plantain lasusu, Mazapan, and Bimacacule or sticky sweet rice.

There is a difference in the flavors of meats, such as turkey and chicken, from other countries because of differences in the diet of the animals being fed on local foodstuffs as opposed to imported grains.

Belizean chickens in particular some allege compared to other chickens have an unusually rich flavor.

Belizeans eat much more chicken and fish, than beef or pork.

Ingredients Popularly Used In Preparing Belizean Meals:

- Cassava

- CohuneBanana

- Plantain or

- Habanero

- Chayote which is locally called chocho

- Allspice

- Ginger

- Callaloo

- Escallion

- Mangos

- Breadfruit

- Yam

- Garlic

- Black pepper

- Dried and salted cod locally known as salt fish

- Salted beef

- Thyme

- Cow feet

- Pig tail

- Coconut milk

- Coconut

- Guava

- Soursop

- Passion fruit

- Sugar cane

- Ketchup

- Onion

- Brown sauce

- Mamey sapote or locally mahmee

- Calabash

- Avocado locally called pear

- Black beans

- Kidney beans

- Roselle locally called sorrel

- Tamarind locally called tambran

- Starfruit

- Golden apple

- Craboo

- Jackfruit

- Pineapple

- Malay apple

- Vinegar

- Recado

- Masa

- Maize

- Curry

Most Popular Belizean Dishes

- Ceviche

- Fry jack

- Conch fritter

- Dukunu

- Hudutu

- Bile up

- Tamales
- Curry chicken

- Garnaches

- Panades

- Salbutes

- Burritos

- Brown stew chicken

- Brown stew beef

- Caldo

- Escoveitch fish

- Conch soup

- Callaloo and saltfish

- Cabbage and saltfish

- Steamed fish

- Cowfoot

- Rice and beans - rice stewed with beans and coconut milk
Belize is a melting pot of cultures, which makes the food so exciting and flavorful. Authentic dishes derive from the Mestizo, Maya, Garifuna, and Creole people, but immigrants from India, China, Nigeria and neighboring countries over the years have added an international flare to Belizean cuisine.

With its Caribbean location, Belize offers some of the best seafood. Fresh fish, lobster, shrimp, and conch are widely available.

The staple of Belizean cuisine is rice and beans cooked in coconut milk and served together with chicken, beef, pork, lobster, shrimp, or fish.

The meat is cooked with recado, a spice made with annato seed, a native herb with a characteristic deep red color, and can be fried, stewed or grilled.

Rice and beans is often served as an accompaniment to almost any main dish.

Mestizo/Mayan Cuisine

A mixture of Spanish and Mayan influence, traditional dishes include garnaches, tamales, and tamalitos. Garnaches are fried corn tortilla with re-fried beans and shredded cheese.

Tamales are made from ground corn and chicken, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. Tamalitos are made from ground sweet corn and chicken, wrapped in the leaves of corn on the cobs and steamed.

Also common are Panades, which are fried corn patties with beans and either shredded fish or chicken, topped with an onion sauce.

Creole Cuisine

Boil up is a healthy and nutritional food in Belize. It is a combination of root vegetables, plantain, eggs, and fish boiled together in a rich tomato sauce.

Among the other main staples of a Creole dinner are rice and beans with stewed meat, potato salad or coleslaw.

Garifuna Cuisine

Fish, chicken, cassava, bananas, and plantains are found in traditional Garifuna food. Cassava is one of the staples and is extremely versatile, it is made into bread, drinks, puddings and even wine.

Hudutu is a very common meal, consisting of fish cooked in a coconut broth and served with mashed plantains or yams.

Dharasa is the Garifuna version of a tamale made with green bananas. It can be made either sweet or sour.


Belizean ceviche at its best is made with raw conch and shrimp.

The seafood is diced and steeped in lime juice for a few hours under refrigeration and tossed with sliced cucumber, tomatoes, onions and chopped cilantro, black pepper and Habanero pepper.

Some Belizeans prefer the queen conch for a gourmet ceviche. It is served with fried corn tortilla chips, and often times a Belikin Beer.

Cochinita Pibil

A dish from the Maya, Cochinita Pibil is pork at it’s finest.

The pork is marinated in an orange juice flavored with annatto seed, wrapped in plantain leaf, and slow roasted until the meat is tender.

The cochinita pibil dish is served with hot hand-made corn tortillas, avocado and fresh Habanero Pepper sauce.


Belizean tamales are a traditional Maya and Mestizo food.

Tamales are squares of cornmeal stuffed with chicken, pork or beans, along with green peas, onion and chunks of tomato.

Unlike the typical Mexican tamale, Belizean tamales are not wrapped in cornhusks but are instead wrapped in plantain or banana leaves.

The tamales are then steamed over an open fire until cooked.

Chicken Escabeche
Derived from Maya and Spanish cuisine, Escabeche is an exotic chicken soup with onions as the main part of the body.

The chicken is seasoned with oregano and thyme, lightly broiled, then roasted and served in a light and clear chicken soup seasoned with onions, black pepper, allspice, and jalapeno pepper.

The one ingredient that makes this soup unique is distilled white vinegar.

Johnny Cakes

Primarily served as a breakfast favorite with eggs, re-fried beans, and cheese, Johnny cakes are small baked bread cakes made with flour and coconut milk.

You can also enjoy a johnny cake for lunch with added bits of stewed chicken or beef.

Belize Fruit Cake

Being a part of the British Caribbean, Belize has adopted many English traditions, including the traditional fruitcake.

Popular around holidays, it is a cake with preserved fruits baked in and then stored for a couple of days after being generously doused with dark local or Caribbean rum.

Tourism Observer
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