Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections on Belize - Dining and Island Life

Now that we are back home, I can once again resume my life of gluttony, though it makes me reflect a little on our time in Belize and some of the foods that we ate. As you might have guessed, the comestibles are heavily Latin American, which are some of my favorite foods: rice and beans, corn tortillas, burritos, etc. Your basic Mexican food with South American accents, which also tend to be on the affordable end. You don't find much high-brow Mexican food, which is fine by me.

When you stay in the resort-heavy areas, there are fine dining opportunities that tend to serve food that is familiar to the clientele, in this case Americanos. The food is good and the dining experience high-end, but do you really want to drop $20 on a plate of spaghetti or chicken cordon-bleu? Not me, thank you. We ate at a nice restaurant our first night in Belize, and it was good, but didn't blow me away. I got some dish that was basically meatballs in tomato sauce with rice. Again, it was good, but being the boring
parent that I am, I kept thinking, "It's just meatballs and rice, we could make this at home." You realize why your kids get sick of you, you just become so boring and practical.

Combined with the high cost, we decided to seek out more authentic (i.e., more affordable) fare, and it didn't take much to find it. In fact, it showed up at our doorstep. Twice a day, every day, several different people would show up at the resorts selling homemade edibles, and not only were they economical, but they were unique and tasty. We had breakfast burritos, chicken and bean quesadillas, and chicken tamales, just to name a few. They were delicious, and so cheap and convenient, and I liked the fact that it was what the locals ate.

Since Belize is geared toward tourists, the locals are a huge part of the economy. It's a little uncomfortable in that they live under fairly modest conditions, to put it lightly, while they serve foreigners with money to burn. The situation provides jobs and it works for everyone, it's just awkward for me when people who don't have a lot are catering to those that have it all. Then again, that's how the world operates, right?

We got to know the guys working at the inn, and they were locals and were very cool. We asked about where they locals ate and they were a little surprised that we were interested, but were helpful, nonetheless. They recommended a few local restaurants and told us where to go to find the stuff the locals eat, and we sought them out. As you can imagine, the food was excellent. We rode our bikes into town and walked about until we found these establishments, which wasn't hard because the town was small. Our favorite was a pupusa restaurant that had massive burritos and $2 pupusas. We chowed down.

Even though money is a driving force, I really enjoy eating food the real-deal local cuisine, mainly because I feel like that's what traveling is all about. It makes a trip more of a unique experience, and it saves us a load of dough. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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