I didn’t really eat all that much ~international food~ until I was adult. Don’t get me wrong–your girl LOVES tacos and pasta. But it doesn’t really count, does it? I’ve been as adventurous as I can possibly be, because WHO DOESN’T LOVE TRYING FOOD? Especially while traveling! When we decided that we were looking at a place much warmer than New York to visit for a nice relaxing week on the beach, we were really only trying to decide between Belize and Mexico, with the main driver (after cost) was where could we get the best food?! As I said, I love tacos–that’s how Mexico made our list. However, I can get tacos (albeit not the best ever) here at home. We seriously lack Caribbean fares here in Albany, so Belize edged to the top and we ended up in paradise for a whole week.
We arrived into Belize City and were quickly whisked to the water taxi where we boarded to head to Caye Caulker–better yet, paradise. Due to the fact that we were staying on an island, everything was naturally a bit more expensive than on the mainland, so we ended up eating out for every meal and only keeping some snacks/drinks in our fridge. The seafood was amazing literally every place we went to, as most restaurants bought their catches for the day FRESH! From sea to table, and it really showed. While it was incredibly tempting to eat seafood for every single meal for the entire week, we had to try some sweets and maybe not so healthy options.
For the most important meal of the day, we frequented a cafe on the sunrise side of the island called Ice and Beans, who’s food menu consists of bagels, sandwiches, waffles, and quite possibly the most delicious, fresh made mini donuts. Each batch is made to order, so you’re always handed a steaming hot bag of freshly made dough balls of goodness. They have an expansive coffee menu using Belizean-grown coffee beans (which I may or may not have brought back home…), iced coffees, lattes, milkshakes, smoothies–absolutely everything! Ice and Beans even carries almond milk, which I was surprised at. On days we did not head to Ice and Beans, we visited Crepes and Dreams, which if you could not tell from the name, has a menu consisting solely of crepes. From sweet treats like sugar and lime, bananas and Nutella to savory folds of pierogi goodness, the crepes were absolutely fabulous and so worth the long walk from our Airbnb. For some quick clarity, Caye Caulker has one main street–both Ice and Beans and Crepes and Dreams are located on that street.
For our final meal of the evening, we pretty much chose between two food categories–seafood and street food. For an out of world seafood restaurant, I was absolutely blown away by Wish Willy’s. Located on a dimly lit street a few back from the Split, there is no set menu. If you’re okay with walking up to a sign outside the restaurant and deciding to place your trust in the chef (and fisherman) to eat whatever he is cooking up that night. I still have dreams about the BBQ and fresh lobster that we had our first night trying Wish Willy’s. If you don’t get there early, you’ll likely have to wait a bit as it is a very popular spot on the island. If you don’t feel like waiting, Maggie’s Sunset Kitchen is hardly a few steps down the back street. It was located directly next to our Airbnb, so not only was it convenient and a short walk home, but it also was located at a breathtaking sunset spot. Everything was again fresh catch, so it was delicious but in somewhat short supply. We adored the ceviche and the grilled lobster! If you’re lucky, they’ll even have delicious fried conch fritters. Yum! If seafood isn’t your thing, keep your eyes peeled on the main strip for La Vida Es Bella, a small, hardly noticeable street cart slinging tacos, burritos, quesadilla, panades, etc. I don’t know any of the sauces she was slapping on there, but holy WOW were they good! It was great, fast drunk food after a day of rum punch and drinks at the split.
The most guilty pleasure munchies made up a lot of our food throughout the day as we never really sat down at a restaurant for lunch. We spent a lot of time hanging out at the Split, so usually we’d fork over way more money than we should have for chips and ceviche (which I have to admit was pretty damn good)/salsa, a basket of fries, etc. We also tended to visit the street cart and Ice and Beans if we were wandering or trying to keep our sunburn from snorkeling out of the sun. Also, holler at Jenny’s To Go Food for the best and most authentic fry jacks on the island! Shmeared with bean paste, meet, and cheese, they were massive, deep fried paper bagged folds of goodness.
Our trip to the mainland was indescribable. We were paired with a driver (not tour guide 😉 ) named Mingy, and she was one of the highlights of our trip. As we made our way to Altun Ha to tour the Maya temples, she kept pointing out all of these roadside huts and carts selling snacks, surprising us with fresh coconut water before taking us to authentic Creole joint around the corner from the ruins. As we made our way through the countryside to our next destination, Mingy stopped and purchased a custard apple. I had no idea what I thought of it. It sort of resembles the general spherical shape of an apple, but with delicate thin skin that you split open to eat the soft, sweet custard like flesh of the fruit. It was…different. Our last snack that Mingy got for us were golden plums, which you dip in rock salt and eat until your gums are bleeding from the spikes on the inside. Actually surprisingly good, I was definitely a fan!
Mingy told us about so many dishes that belongs to Belizean culture, which only makes me want to return and spend more time not surrounded by only Canadians and Americans!