Of course, there were a lot of consumables in this town and we found and consumed our share.
Our favorite was the woman (possibly named Teresa) who set up a stand to the right of the Havana grocery store across from the bus station. She made flour-tortilla tacos (soft small tortillas folded over; we might call them burritos but they were called tacos) using stewed chicken, some sort of marinated cabbage, and hot sauce and they were great. She is there daily but only in the mornings and there typically was a crowd. Her tacos are 50 cents Belize apiece (that’s 25 cents US); three of them makes an excellent breakfast.
Our second favorite was the night burrito lady in the green stand in the middle of town on the main street. She was on the same side of the street and about two or three doors down to the left from the “Garden Shop” mini-market (which is across the street from the big hardware store). She is closed up during the day but opens at night and you can barely see in her window due to the massive refrigerator that hogs all the space. She also makes burritos and hers are $2 Belize apiece (you could eat two maybe). Then you can get some beer at the Garden Shop and eat a nice picnic dinner at the beachfront park down the street. Note that there is a prominent green food stand on the corner directly across the street from the hardware store advertising tacos and burritos and while she is open pretty much all day, her burritos are not as good as either Teresa’s or the other green stall.
Incidentally, if you are self-catering, the Garden Shop sells shilling (25-cent) bags of frozen water, which you can bash up for iced drinks.
Many restaurants and bars also had excellent hand-painted signs.
We serves breakfast! We were told that the place used to be called Burger King until the owner received a cease and desist notice in the mail from Burger King ™. He has diner style food and makes his own ice cream (and has sour sop flavor!). The conch soup came recommended but Joshua was not too into it (I thought it was all right).
King Burger had a series of groovy menu signs.
That meat pie illustration is super awesome.
New Place, Old Sign.
This was outside one of the bars in town. (You can view a larger photo by clicking the image.)
We didn’t actually go to this bar but we did go to a place called “Bleachers” (bleaching means, apparently, getting wasted). They are just up the street from the bridge in the center of town and they make their own bitters. Bitter drinks seem to be popular in Belize and theirs is a gnarly concoction that is scooped out of a five-gallon bucket into small plastic cups; you order it by $1, $2, $3, etc. amounts. We ordered $1 bitters and beers (you typically need a beer chaser if you drink this stuff). I kind of liked it but then I’m all over bitter things generally. (Brad—it tasted sort of like the un-refined version of your absinthe, but in a more drinkable way. I *suspect* Shanti would not like it..)
Seaweed drink is a gelatinous drink made of seaweed obviously, and flavored with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, and perhaps a tiny bit of rum. The one we tried was actually off the main square in Orange Walk Town and was served in recycled Guiness beer bottles.
BOOZE: Beer by the way is Belikan Belize and it’s quite good in my opinion (after Mexican and other Central American fare). They have one bottle and you can get both regular or stout (different bottlecaps to tell which one). There is also a light version but honestly, who drinks light beer? Guiness is also widely available but it is made either in Belize or possibly Jamaica and is probably a little different than the Irish version most are familiar with.
You can also get Campari (they call it Bitters) in Belize; it is made in Jamaica, is wonderfully cheap (~$7 US per bottle), and tastes almost exactly like the Italian version. The color is only a little bit off, maybe they don’t use carmine bugs to dye it the beautiful red they do in Italy.
Belize makes several different “wines,” such as ginger wine, cashew wine, blackberry wine, etc. We tried the ginger wine (there are two brands that appear to be widely available: Fandango and some other one; the other one is better). It’s pretty good as is (I recommend chilled), intensely gingery but strong and very sweet and it is much better, in fact VERY much better, if served over ice with a splash of soda water. Mmm. We were intensely curious about the cashew wine but never tried this due to the elaborate cautions we received by every single Belizian we mentioned cashew wine to. “That stuff is dangerous mon.” “Your grandma drink that stuff, she go dancing in the street naked!” “You drink one bottle of that stuff and you are drunk for three days. So I guess it’s economical. Of course you don’t remember any of it!” So we stayed away from the cashew wine; we got enough shit from people for drinking the ginger wine.
MISCELLANEOUS: Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce!! Almost my favorite thing ever. I threw a colossal fit when Joshua proposed a return to El Salvador via Mexico/Guatemala and not via Belize (where I could stock up). We returned via Belize and I am the proud owner of about fifty gerjillion bottles of hot sauce. She makes the traditional carrot orange habanero sauce (in mild, hot, fiery hot, and novelty—has capsum oil in it and a warning label about feeding it to the elderly). She also makes an orange/habanero and a grapefruit/habanero version and various jellies and chutneys. We’ve only tried the habanero jelly so far because the jar smashed in transit but I salvaged the majority by slicing the glassy bits off the outside (ala moldy cheese). It’s pretty good I think; it has very few ingredients but you can taste each one but the habanero heat is very mild. I’ll report back later on the Green Mango Chutney, which must be just awesome.
Fresh juices: At most of the grocery stores (there are two big ones near the main bridge and the Havana market across from the bus station) you can buy fresh juice in squarish plastic bottles (like what Odwalla comes in). The grapefruit in particular is very good.
Coffee: None. Bad, vile. Drink coke.