Belize food is a mixture of other cultural foods as well as local traditions. When you visit Belize for the first time, you will likely land in a tourist area where you will find just about any type of “Americanized” food you may be interested in. Yet when you retire in Belize, food should become more localized which will be more affordable and will give you a better taste of the culture.
Belize food is a mixture of Mexican, Caribbean, Spanish, a bit of African and a good amount of Mayan, all cultures which are strongly represented in the country. Perhaps the most common ingredient you will find here is seafood.
Many different types of fish, lobsters and conch are eaten regularly.
From the list of influential food cultures above you may already realize that the largest staple food here is rice and beans. In smaller villages, this is a daily meal. In most other areas of Belize, rice and beans is a dish served alongside the main dish. This is usually made from red beans and can be cooked in coconut milk. Another local tradition and favorite is stewed chicken. A good comparison would be a traditional beef stew. It contains a wide selection of spices as well as seasonal vegetables.
For breakfast, you will likely enjoy scrambled eggs and refried red or black beans.
Tortillas are usually the accompanying dish. Johnnycakes are another option which is a round biscuit made of flower, sometimes served with ham and cheese. For lunch and supper, you will likely eat a meat such as poultry.
Most other meats are wild game (interestingly, Belize only recently started raising its own cattle; therefore beef products are still costly.) You are likely to see gibnut and iguana on the menu. Gibnut is a large rodent like animal, which is supposed to taste like rabbit. Iguana is a lizard and is supposed to taste like chicken. Sea turtle is another commonly found dish here. Sea turtles are endangered and for that reason, they are not eaten as nearly as much as they used to be and exporting of sea turtle meat is illegal.
For vegetables you should plan to enjoy grated cabbage, potatoes and beets. In fruits, you will see mangoes, pineapples bananas, melons and papayas readily available.
While some of the Belize food you find is rather unique to those from North America, it is healthy and full of flavor.