A “Gud Maaning” Waking Up To a Belizean Breakfast

by Caribbean Lifestyle Editorial Team

“I seh gud maaning, Belize, gud maaning!” Sure, they’re the lyrics to a famous Belizean song but what a good morning indeed when starting with an authentic, bona fide Belizean breakfast! We take our food seriously. Even the most simple breakfast dishes are chock full of flavor and cultural depth. Ready to experience it yourself? Here are our top 5 Belizean breakfast eats—or rather, experiences. 

The “Drop Everything and Eat These” Stuff: Fry Jacks

Prepare for the two best words uttered: Fry Jacks. So legendary, these puffy, soft yet crispy fried dough deserve all the descriptive adjectives—which many have compared to a much lighter beignet. A fully loaded plate looks like these delicate pockets of air served with refried beans, eggs, and ham or famous Belizean-spiced stewed chicken. Order on the side or even stuffed inside.

Where To Have The Experience

Belizeans across the country have perfected the fry jack, but there’s nothing like dunking your fry jack in some refried beans while dipping your toes in fluffy white sand at Estel’s in San Pedro on a Sunday morning. In the south? You can’t beat ordering Naia Resort & Spa’s melt-in-your- mouth fry jacks as room service in Placencia. Now the tough question is, sweet or savory? To help you decide, join a lunch food tour in San Pedro as Belize Food Tours ventures to The Fry Jack House, the newest eatery serving up both.

Pictured: Estel’s is one of the most famous breakfast eateries in San Pedro Town. Image via Roeming Belize.

Ahh, who knew these small, stuffed, handheld pockets of meat would become a Belizean staple? Dario’s, Pou’s, or Ladyville’s: you’re likely in for a heated debate if you’re asking a Belizean to choose their preferred provider. But what exactly makes a meat pie great in the first place? The crust? The filling? The baker? Here’s what we know.

Boogie's Belly is making homemade meat pies in San Pedro Town. Image via Belize Food Tours

Where To Have The Experience

Belize City, while not known as a tourist destination, is home to many of the meat pie-heavy hitters, and they’ve earned their titles. Skip the usual long lines to get them piping hot out of the oven at their respective bakeries if you’re catching a water taxi since you’ll likely find them just as fresh at these delis. Choose Dario’s if you like a spicier sauce in a buttery, flaky crust; Ladyville, if you appreciate, curry undertones and Pou’s for uninterrupted filling with its near see-through thin crust. Not in the city? Hit one of the oldest delis in San Pedro town started by a pioneer of tourism: Celi’s Deli. They’ve been flying in Dario’s pies from Belize City to the island daily for decades because yes, it’s that good!

*If you’re here during the open Lobster Season, try the unique lobster pies from Boogie’s Belly in San Pedro Town.

The “Wow, that’s Good” Stuff: Orange Walk Tacos

You think you know a taco until you’ve tried Belize’s, as the seemingly simplest taco ever: minced chicken atop a fresh corn tortilla, with cilantro-pickled cabbage. Sounds basic, right? Wrong. Hand-rolled to perfection, these little tacos pack a punch. See, the secret is in the chicken, which is slow-cooked for hours to fall-apart-tenderness in Belizeans’ favorite spice: red recado. Heavily influenced by our roots in the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize’s northern district of Orange Walk (OW) is where these tacos infamously originated.

belize food tours tacos orange walk
Tacos, anyone? Photo by Belize Food Tours

Where To Have The Experience

The ultimate OW Taco experience would have to be the annual Taco Fest, a showdown of taco makers battling it out for the coveted “Best Taco Award.” But since this is a once-a-year event, you might miss it. That doesn’t mean you have to miss the experience. If you’re in Orange Walk, check out Mercy’s taco stall near the center of Orange Walk Town. Ask any local, and they’ll know exactly where. If Orange Walk isn’t your destination, then ask a local for a recommendation in your destination. Ready for another insider exclusive tip? Belmopan will be the newest destination for Belize Food Tours, taking you one taco at a time to one of the best taquero stalls in the country.

The “Maya Inspired” Chaya Eggs or Perix Paa’k (pi•rish pak)

Last but certainly not least, a Belizean breakfast couldn’t be complete without honoring our Maya-Mestizo indigenous roots: Perix Paa’k and Chaya Eggs. Perix Paa’k is simply eggs scrambled with onions and tomatoes, while Chaya Eggs are eggs with a locally-loved dark leafy green, colloquially known as Maya spinach.

Chaya eggs + handmade corn tortillas at Gaia Riverlodge.

Where To Have The Experience

Without a doubt, the most authentic way to experience these breakfasts would be through a homestay at a Maya Family in the jungles of southern Belize, like at IxCacao, where the Cho family will create an unmatched experience that’s singular. If you aren’t able to make it south, you have to stop at San Ignacio’s most famous breakfast eatery, Pop’s, for its Chaya Egg Stuffed Fry Jacks (two favorites in one!) or try a flour tortilla stuffed with Perix Paa’k at Celi’s Deli in San Pedro Town, to give a nod to Belize’s indigenous. Thank you, ancestors.

Written by Dora Paz for the 2021/2022 Belize Gold Book.
Header image of a typical fry jack breakfast at Blancaneaux Lodge © CCL. Article found on page 44 of the 2021/2022 Belize Gold Book. Read more articles from the #BelizeGoldBook below:

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