When in Belize: Eat Like the Locals for an Authentic Cultural Experience

by McNab Editorial Team
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience”-James Beard 

Food is a universal experience no matter where you travel. Savory and delicious dishes make lasting impressions and make the country you travel to memorable. Belize is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, meaning there are also multiple kinds of cuisine to enjoy. 

Must Try Foods in Belize

Tacos on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Photo by the Belize Tourism Board.
Photo by Muy'Ono Resorts
escabeche hamanasi
A twist on the Belizean onion soup: Escabeche. Photo via Singanga Restaurant at Hamanasi

Food is such a broad topic, and Belize has so much to offer. However, there are some signature dishes that locals enjoy eating daily. If you want the authentic Belizean foodie experience, here are a couple of foods you won’t want to miss tasting before you leave. 



To Belizeans, these are what biscuits are to Americans. It is a common and favorite Belizean breakfast made from flour, coconut milk, shortening and baking powder that is lightly baked in the oven until golden brown. It is normally served with ham and cheese in the middle or topped with refried beans, cheese, eggs, and ground meat.  

Fun Fact: Johnnycakes were originally made with cornmeal by the Native Americans.

Johnny Cakes. Image by The Recipe Island Blog

Fry Jacks

These are also a typical Belizean choice for breakfast. Fry jacks are deep-fried dough pieces made from flour, baking powder, salt, and vegetable shortening and fried in the shape of triangles. It is very light and addictive and served along with refried beans, eggs, cheese, bacon or ham. Fry jacks also pair amazingly with local fruit jelly or jam.  

Meat pies

Meat pies are handmade pies stuffed with chicken or beef. It is cooked till golden brown crisp on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside. If you like a spicy kick to start your day, meat pies are surely a great option. The most popular pies sold in Belize are Dario’s meat pie, Belizean Meat pie, Pou meat pie and recently hot on the list is Moe’s pizza meat pies. They are budget-friendly, with each pie costing anywhere from $1.50 Belizean dollars and up. It is normally eaten for breakfast but also makes a good lunch or dinner.  

meat pies- food- budget


Early in the morning, all over Belize, you can find vendors selling tacos from their street side stalls. They’re made with corn or flour tortilla and served with pork or chicken. There are also options to add onion, cabbage or hot sauce. Belizean tacos are normally sold a a rate of 3 tacos for 1 Belizean dollar.

The best district for eating tacos is up north in Orange Walk Town. Every year, Orange Walk celebrates an annual Tacos fest where crowds gather to experience this tasty delight. The festival showcases a wide array of taco styles and flavors. There are also local drinks served, cultural presentations and live performances by local artists.  

belize food tours tacos orange walk

Tacos, anyone? Photo by Belize Food Tours


Rice and beans

One of Belize’s staple Creole cuisines, this delicacy is made with white rice, coconut milk, and red or black beans. Along with that, a choice of stew chicken, fry whole fish, fish fillet or bake chicken is usually served, accompanied by coleslaw or potato salad and fried plantains. This savory dish can be found in food stalls and restaurants across the country. 

belizean food

Cow foot soup

While it might sound unusual to those unfamiliar, cow foot soup is a tasty Belizean food that contains potatoes, okra, onion, cilantro carrots, and pepper. It is a nutritious and hearty meal packed with flavor. Cow foot soup is normally served with steamed white rice or corn tortillas. 

Cow Foot Soup at Benny’s Kitchen. Photo via Trip Advisor

Boil Up

The delectable dish called “Boil up” is popular all around the country. This dish is a combination of healthy and non-healthy starches. Every item is boiled, from ground foods (yam, cassava, sweet potatoes, plantain), to the meats (fish and pigtails) to the cake dough and eggs. This meal is topped with tomato sauce, coconut oil, and sautéed onions. Boil up can be bought at local restaurants for $10-15 Belizean dollars. 

Belizean Boil Up by @angiesafoodie on IG


These are a traditional Mestizo and Mayan food. Unlike the Mexican tamale, Belizean tamales are wrapped in plantain leaves and not in corn husks. It is made of corn dough, also known as masa, and filled with seasoned meat (chicken or pork) as well as col – a red filling made from red recado, onion, garlic, masa, seasonings, and water. The tamales are then wrapped in the leaves and left to steam or boil. It’s a meal that’s popular for Christmas, funerals and small gatherings. 


Live to eat and live to make experiences last a lifetime. Do your taste buds a favor and don’t count the calories but enjoy all that Belize has to offer. Bon Appetit!  

Note: This article was first published on January 23, 2020. Written by Jiyoung Chehade. Featured Photo by Belize Food Tours. 

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