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If taste is one of the senses you like to exercise when you travel, the “local” dishes provide a tantalizing way to explore the flavors of Belize. Foods often draw from the cultural traditions of the local residents.
Stewed Chicken is one of the most traditional Belizean dishes, and one that every visitor should experience. The chicken is rubbed with an anato paste called “recado,” and sprinkled with salt, pepper and garlic before adding water, a dash of vinegar, chopped onions and sweet peppers, bringing out the greatest flavor. Traditionally, stewed chicken is accompanied by rice and beans, potato salad and fried ripe plantains.
Due to Belize’s excellent geographical location, the seafood is plentiful. Conch, shrimp, squid, red snapper and Grouper are just a few of the seafood selections found on Belizean menus. Conch Soup and Conch Ceviche (salsa using tomatoes, onions, cilantro, raw conch and lime; the acidity of the lime “cooks” the fish) are also prized dishes across the country. However, the most popular seafood choice is lobster. At the close of lobster season, which runs from February through July, several towns host fun Lobster Fests.
No meal is complete without a bottle of Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce. An extremely distinctive element of Belizean dining, the sauce is made from a base of habanero peppers, carrots and onions. They vary in degrees of heat, from “mild” to “beware.” The small bottles make great gifts!
The country’s national beer is called Belikin. Don’t order a Corona! You’ll be greeted with a funny look. Belizians love Belikin which comes in varieties of stout, lager and premium. The original German recipe has a distinctly Belizean taste.
The liquor of choice in Belize is rum. Five-year aged Prestige rum is considered the best of the Belizean rums; however, 1 Barrel, with its hint of sweet vanilla, is easily the most popular.