There’s something about the ocean that makes everything taste better. Perhaps it’s the salt air, the breezes coming across from the jungle, just the sheer vibrancy of life all around you. Rather than overwhelming your senses of smell and taste, Caribbean life seems to heighten them. It’s like your senses are reveling in the variety and depth that they are denied in the concrete and pollution-filled cities of the world.
Such sensory vibrancy means that every type of food is an enhanced experience, but this is only made better by the variety of locally grown and sustainably caught foods available in Belize.
Let’s start with fish! You can eat fresh fish every day and cooked every way. Grouper and snapper are the most common and you can get it blackened, fried or grilled. Fish caught that very afternoon, just off the coast is very different from that caught on a trawler and either flash frozen or flown to restaurants thousands of miles inland. Different types of fish have different textures and flavors, which become even more tantalizing when cooked or grilled over open flames in tropical air.
When they’re in season, lobster and conch add a sense of occasion. In North America and elsewhere, lobster is an expensive delicacy. And who goes to the supermarket to buy conch? But that’s one of the many great things about travel – anywhere in the world – experiencing tastes and foods that add to life’s variety.
Being part of the Central American tropics, a local favorite is stewed chicken, with rice and beans. Simple, healthy and filling. Fried plantain is a staple. Plantains look like big, wild bananas. But they are generally cooked before eating and taste more like a potato than a banana. They’re very good for you, too, loaded with potassium and cholesterol-burning fiber.
Fry Jacks are essential, although they won’t win any prizes in the healthy foods department. Fry jacks are pieces of fried dough, made puffy by using plenty of baking powder. But they are so good as partners in both savory and sweet dishes.
Huevos Rancheros is another breakfast favorite. Common in many areas of Latin and Central America, eggs with ranchero sauce, refried beans, flour tortillas, served with bacon or sausage provide great energy and sustenance whether your calendar shows “diving with whale sharks” or “log-in to the virtual meeting with head office back home.”
And how about “apple bananas”? Yet another type of banana, these are also less sweet that their Cavendish cousins (Cavendish is pretty much the only type of banana eaten in North America and Europe). They’re a little tangier to taste, and best of all, we have them growing in the back yard! Wherever you travel in the world, food is a primary concern, of course, but it’s always wonderful to expand your culinary horizons and try local delicacies right in the place they came from. Just another benefit of living and working in paradise. Come on down! See – and taste – for yourself!