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Belizian food trip report

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Belizian food trip report

Owen O'Neill | Jun 9, 2002 02:35 AM

I expect to return to Belize within the next year or possibly to Costa Rica and am curious as to recommendations others can make for specific foods or restaurants to try. Just returned from 10 days in Belize - my first trip outside the US. Herewith my observations (limited as they are): all prices in US $

Gotta love rice and beans with stewed chicken - cheap and filling, generally tasty and the chicken was consistently better tasting than the supermarket dreck we get here in the states (less meaty but more flavor). It's everywhere in Belize. Creole cuisine uses coconut milk in the rice - it appears that some folks use coconut oil (in place of or in addition to the coconut milk). Some of the rice I had was very heavy and I'm guessing the oil was the issue. The only mainland full meals I had were in the airport restaurant at the start and end of trip and were the best airport food I've ever eaten (and the cheapest at $6 US for a very large plate of chicken with two sides). I did have cow's foot soup for lunch in San Ignacio when in transit from Tikal Park (Guatemala) to Belmopan. Not an experience I'll soon repeat - tastes pretty much like soupy beef stew but with a very gelatinous feel. Only Marie Sharp's hot sauce brought out the flavor enough to make it interesting. Maries Sharp's is carrot and habanero based - incredibly tasty hot sauce and their green variety is also quite good (as is their banana jam). I spent the bulk of my Belize time on the island Caye Caulker and had consistently good food there. It ranged from a $3 dinner of BBQ conch, potato salad, coleslaw and stewed beans with rice (from the hair-braiding lady on the beach) to a full blown feast of shrimp seviche, grilled snapper, salad, side of perfect al dente pasta (with marinara), salad, pre-dinner cappucino and post dinner espresso. That was at Il Biscaro and totaled $20 US (actually a pricey dinner by Caye Caulker standards). Il Biscaro's owner Salvador, makes an outstanding cappucino (IMHO the only good one on the island) and has excellent food - he's a native of Milan Italy. Based on a tip from a local, I also tried the fried chicken at Syd's. Outstanding - possibly the best I've ever had. It certainly rivals Hattie's in Saratoga Springs NY and at $3.50 with two sides is an incredible value. Last but not least was a barracuda steak dinner at $8 with two sides. I don't see this offered here in the northeastern US but it's an incredible eating fish - perhaps somewhere between halibut and swordfish in flavor and with a delicate texture. Can't wait until I return and get to try some again! Also - although I saw them infrequently on the mainland, excellent fresh squeezed juices were available on Caye Caulker. I tried watermelon, mango and OJ - prices varied but were as low as $2.50 per liter! Considered bringing back some Belizean coffee but it's a bit pricey even by US standards and I haven't heard any rave reviews. I did have an excellent Guatemalan cappucino from a little coffee stand at the Flores-Tikal airport but was not in any markets there to look for coffee to bring home.

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