Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America, has a potpourri of culinary influences, including Chinese, Mexican, Creole, and European. You'll find seafood or chicken and a hearty helping of spices at the heart of most Belizean meals.
Taste as many different dishes as possible! You'll be introduced to spices that add a new dimension to your diet. Naturally, you won't be wild about everything—it takes a while to become accustomed to squid served in its own black ink, for instance. A hamburger might not taste like one from your favorite "fast foodery" back home. Be prepared to come into contact with many new and different tastes—you're in Belize, after all, a land of myriad cultures and cuisines. You will easily find Chinese, Mexican, Creole, and European dishes.
Look for such delicacies as conch (pictured), conch soup, fried lobster, iguana, armadillo, shark, black beans and rice, great fried chicken, fried plantain, papaya, and don't turn your nose up if someone invites you to a "boil up" (seafood stew). Though turtle is an endangered species, the law allows fishermen to take them at certain times of the year, so you may also see turtle offered on a menu—but perhaps if no one buys them the fishermen will quit catching them in their nets!
Fried chicken is found on almost every menu in Belize, along with black beans and rice, which is considered a "typical" dinner. Some of the more local restaurants offer gibnut, a rabbitlike rodent that was served to Queen Elizabeth when she visited some years back, causing British newspapers to print half-page headlines stating the queen was served rat in Belize. Oh, well; newspapers go to any lengths to be noticed.
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This page modified January 2007
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