5 Holiday Dishes that Are Iconically Belizean

by Khaila Gentle

Christmas is almost here. In Belize, that means windows have been decked with lights, houses have been cleaned from top to bottom, and the smells of cake and ham are permeating through homes. Perhaps more than anything else, food is one of the key components of a traditional Belizean Christmas. So much so that some dishes have earned their way into the Belizean Holiday Season hall of fame. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

Spending Christmas in Belize? Here are five iconic dishes that you simply must try.

1. Black Relleno

It’s the dish that can cure a hangover and will keep you warm during the cool December weather. Also known as “Black Dinna”, black relleno is a Belizean household favorite for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It has roots in Maya and Mestizo culture, but persons all over the country enjoy it.


tamales filling

Presents aren’t the only thing being unwrapped this holiday season. Experience the pure joy that comes with unwrapping freshly made, steaming hot tamales. Served wrapped up in green banana or plantain leaves, this corn-based dish is a Mestizo delicacy that’s eaten year round. That doesn’t make it any less of an iconic Belizean holiday dish, though.

The lengthy process involved in making this delicacy often calls for the assistance of multiple persons, especially if it’s being made it large amounts. Making tamales with the family the perfect embodiment of the togetherness that comes with the holiday season.

3.Black Fruit Cake

belizean black fruit cake a quintessential holiday dish

Belizean Black Fruit Cake usually has a dash of Travellers Gold Rum or wine on top. (Image via Flavors of Belize)

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that black fruit cake is a quintessential part of the Belizean holiday season. Alongside white cake, this decadent holiday treat will surely be on dinner tables across the country this Christmas. Try it accompanied by a cold glass of rum popo.

4.Christmas Hams

belize holiday dish christmas ham

Here’s a fun fact: In Belize, hams are often reserved for the holiday season. Pass through any household on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and you’re sure to catch a mouthwatering whiff of baking ham. You’ll find it dressed with pineapples and glazed with mustard and honey. Of all the holiday dishes, this one is perhaps the most popular. Belizeans love their Christmas ham!

5.Local Wines

Photo courtesy Travellers Liquors Ltd

While not technically a holiday dish, it would be remiss of us to not include in this list Belizeans’ drink of choice for the holiday season (apart from rum popo, that is.) From sorrel to blackberry, the list of local wines that you might find in households for Christmas is plentiful.  Wine making is a popular tradition in many Belizean villages. The best part is, anyone wanting a a taste of these delectable drinks can grab a bottle at any time during the year.

Here at Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle, we would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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