The Must-Try Foods in Belize In Every Region

by Gisselle Hernandez
LILYS-CEVICHE

Throughout the past few years Belize has landed itself as having one of the most enriching culinary scenes in the region. With Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean to the East, Belize has become a microcosm of all the rich foods found on this side of the world. Because of this, it makes sense each region in Belize would also have its own ‘must-try’ food or dish that’s considered a specialty. What you may find at the very northern tip of Belize will seem vastly different once you’ve made your way to the southern edge. However, this does not mean that these dishes – and their avid enjoyers – don’t intersect. In fact, this is what makes Belize, Belize. Every single dish across the country is enjoyed by all, no matter the culture or background. If you’re on a foodie itinerary and wish to hit all the major region specialties when on your Belize road trip, here are a few you cannot miss. 

Northern Belize: Tacos. 

tacos

Of course, Orange Walk and Corozal’s delicious cuisines are more than just tacos. Still, there’s a reason many from the city make the 1.5-drive up to the northern town of Orange Walk for a bit of tomato sauce-doused tacos. This region has held the title of taco kings & queens for more than a decade, even though many “Orange Walk tacos” replicas have sprouted up in other districts. The tacos are rolled up corn tortillas, with shredded chicken or pork inside and you can have it with hot sauce, chopped onions or shredded cabbage. While a slew of taco stands are peppered throughout town, what makes these specific tacos special is the way the Orange Walkeños cook their meat. According to decade-long taco connoisseurs, the key is letting the chicken cook overnight or for almost 8 hours, to get the right taste and consistency. That’s dedication right there! So if you find yourself here up north, don’t be afraid to try some authentic tacos where you’ll get three for just $1BZD. 

Central Belize: Meat Pies. 

meat pies- food- budget

One thing that cannot be denied is the way many Belizeans fiercely advocate for meat pies. These palm-sized dough pies are stuffed with delicious chicken or beef and filled with nice, hot gravy. Each Belizean has their own way of eating a meat pie – whether calculatingly, using the crusty “lid” as a spoon, or diving right in, no precious second wasted. These golden meat pies are a common breakfast item, and one we recommend you taste at least once while in Central Belize. When in Belize City, head to the nationally-known famous Dario’s meat pies to grab a quick breakfast. Out on errands? No problem, vendors on their special bicycles are carrying around enough meat pies for the whole neighborhood in their coolers. Snag one for a mere buck-fifty, and head on your way. Some others we recommend include Pou’s Meat Pies, Ladyville Meat pies, and Belize Meat Pies. 

Western Belize: BBQ.

San Ignacio Town knows its way around a great barbecue. About two hours away from the international airport, you’ll find the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena reigning as the country’s best when it comes to deliciously grilled food. This weekend favorite is often available at many tented stalls touting a “finga-lickin’ BBQ!” sign (finger-licking.) A plate of perfectly barbecued ribs, chicken breasts or pork chops is often accompanied by either coleslaw or potato salad, rice and beans or freshly hand-made flour tortillas. A hefty plate will run you about $10BZD and you’ll be ready to take a nap after indulging in that sizable portion. Western Belize is popular for this cuisine, where pedestrians, motorists and those busy doing household chores on a Saturday can’t resist the convenience of a quick, scrumptious plate of BBQ. 

Southern Belize: Hudut.

Images of hudut via Chef Sean Kuylen 

This spice-ridden coconut-based soup is a staple of Garifuna culture. The traditional dish includes mashed plantains and fish, where Belizeans opt to have an entire medium-sized fish seasoned to perfection. When visiting the southeast coast, you can book a traditional Garifuna Cooking Class in Hopkins Village and learn how to make this exquisite dish. The experience involves the traditional way of mashing plantains – with a giant wooden mortar and pestle – and boiling the soup filled with spices until it’s the ideal consistency. The Garifuna culture is known to use coconut and seafood as the key ingredients in many dishes, with results being authentic food rich in both flavor and history. 

North Islands: Ceviche.

Try the traditional Shrimp Ceviche or Conch Ceviche dressed simply at Lily’s Treasure Chest in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.

 

Often cited as one of the best tapas to pair with an ice-cold beer, ceviche is a dish best savored near the sea. When venturing to any Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker restaurant, make sure to order this popular appetizer that can be made out of either shrimp or conch. Prepared with pickled cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and freshly squeezed lime, the raw cubed seafood sits to marinate. You can enjoy it with some crispy, perfectly golden tortilla chips and top it off with some diced habanero for a nice kick. Indulging in this savory dish can only be made better when sitting at a beachside bar gazing out to the Caribbean Sea. 

Header image of ceviche by Lily’s Treasure Chest.

Related Articles