As expected, I’ve had both beans and rice, and rice and beans. But that’s only the start. The tacos are immense. I often have home-made meat pies for breakfast – also awesome. Fruit is just of a different quality altogether and portions are huge - again I'm not complaining. Drinking also seems to be a reasonably important part of the culture, with the local brew – Belikin beer – being a tasty substitute for Stella and just as strong. Rum and tequila are obviously favourites too, and of course Guinness and Red Bull.
Cooking is a source of pride for a lot of people. Mari is a great cook and since she’s been away in the States, Evan, Shar and I have been trying to keep up the high standards by turning our hands to Mexican, Belizian and Italian cooking respectively.
Here I am ‘helping out’ with dinner. I am making salbutos – fried tacos with shredded chicken, shredded cabbage and salsa. This Mexican dish is a real favourite of mine, even when I cook it.
I cooked spaghetti Bolognese one Wednesday night. Before we even tasted my concoction, we celebrated the very fact that I’d cooked anything at all with a couple of Tequilas – I guess I didn’t look like I had it in me. And to accompany the spag-bol, Evan pulled an enormous fluid-filled jar of things-that-look-like-olives from a cupboard. The jar truly looked like something that had been recently recovered from the canteen of the Titanic, but the contents were pretty darned enjoyable. And the verdict on my cooking? A politely enthusiastic “well done, this is delicious”. I’ve been asked to cook again though, so it couldn’t have been that toxic.
Shar made fried chicken (just like the Colonel makes it), salad and macaroni. This was also a winner. Since then we’ve been mixing things up and have had a couple of fish dishes. These require an always entertaining trip to the fish market.
Eating out in Belize usually means Belizian or Mexican food. In some places, while the menu is served strictly at breakfast/lunch/dinner times, you can have rice and beans at any time in between. I guess a Belizian just can’t go too long without rice and beans.
There are fancier restaurants in town, mostly congregated around the tourist hotels and catering to tourists and the rich minority in the country. Teri, a volunteer with CARE, and I have eaten out at a couple of these and can recommend Harbour View, with its… harbour view! Nice fish there, and the menu, though extortionate by Belizian standards, is still cheaper than in Edinburgh.
One thing I do miss is a nice glass of wine. Belizian wine is not of Grand Cru standards (!) and the imported wine, like everything else imported into Belize, is very expensive. So instead I have to make do with rum and coke, and of course a couple of panty-rippers:
After an unfortunate incident at the 2005 event, this popular refreshment was banned during the 2006 Twister competition (see below).