My husband Dave offered to write a blog post today, as he was eating a street food burrito, that he said deserves its own blog post…. So, here it is, with some “editor’s notes” at the bottom…
Much of travel surrounds eating. Meals out, new experiences, delicious exotic dishes – travel and food go together like rice and beans.And while Placencia has a number of restaurants that I think can go toe to toe with any international travel destination’s finest dining options (Ricks, Rumfish, Maya Beach Bistro) wherever I am, I gravitate to the cheap eats. No doubt, my favorite part of travel. Below is a quick sampling of my favorite cheap eats, and how to do it like a local!
A can’t miss! Look, if you’re headed out on a tour, getting ready to spend the morning kayaking beautiful waters, or want a great, quick, cheap meal for the next leg of your journey, breakfast burritos are the best. Stop at any street stand by the police station and make your order. They prepare it right in front of you, fresh, tasty and cheap. Burritos are $5 BZD. They are prepared with a large homemade-in-front-of-you flour tortilla, and include eggs, ham, onions, and sometimes the following – coleslaw, peppers, chicken, and Marie Sharps. So delicious! You’ll need to approach the counter and order – don’t expect a menu or any chit-chat. The staff is at work and they’ll probably make 150 burritos that morning – so keep it brief. Just order a breakfast burrito, with everything – they’ll put it together for you, wrap it in foil, and you walk away with it. Cash only, USD is fine if you have it, and you can eat there.
And here are two tips:
1. Place your order and then walk to the small grocery store that is close and get a coconut water while you wait. It will take about 10 minutes to prepare your burrito. And tell the cook you’re going. They won’t respond, but be sure – they heard you.
2. Get a few extra. Keep them in your hotel room fridge – they reheat wonderfully! Perfect for a late night snack!
Here’s my favorite place:
And here is the burrito that inspired this post…the breakfast one…
Chicken rice and beans ….Every dining blog and article about Belize food talks about this dish. I won’t be another that goes on and on. But, Mim’s on the road is my favorite. It also happens to be right near our place. But really, they’re all great and all around $10 BZD.
So, if you’re going to have lunch at a roadside stand that has this DELICIOUS dish, here are two tips: 1. Show up early. Lunch is served 11 to 1 and if you get there at 12:45, they’ll be out of everything you were hoping to have. Get there about 11:30 and you can ensure you’ll get your pick of what’s on the menu.
2. You can ask for extra chicken for a price. Staff will normally oblige and it’s worth it!
It will be some iteration of this…
Tamales….This one is buyer beware. There are a number of vendors walking with 5 gallon buckets of fresh, hot, just made tamales – $3 BZD. When I first saw this three years ago, I couldn’t have been more excited. Daily hot tamales to my doorstep – what more could a boy want? Here’s what…………… Belizean tamales are cooked with all the classic ingredients – masa, corn husks, spices and seasonings – and the meat is chicken. Sounds delicious right? The problem is that the chicken is “bone-in” as-in – don’t bite directly into that sucker or you’ll lose a tooth! And even if you want to eat the chicken, you’ll need to dig out the bone with your hand as it’s packed inside the masa. So, buyer beware – tamales are cheap and tasty, but too much work for this guy!
These are my favs, and I hit them all (except the tamales) several times a week. But actually, I do sneak in a tamale in every now and then – only when I know no one is watching 🙂
Editor’s Note – we have a lot of enthusiasm in this family; as he was writing I was shouting out other things that are cheap that he eats all the time, and it was exhausting for him, so I’ll finish this. SO, to add a few more cheap eats that while he did not write, he does agree with…
-$.50usd plantain chips in the little baggies at all the grocery stores. These are awesome, just the right size that you don’t feel cheated/pretty full, he eats them about once a day.
-farmer’s markets all through the village – go get a couple tomatoes, onion, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro, chop it all up, and get a bag of local tortilla chips at the grocery store. You can do this for like $6usd and have a ton of fresh salsa, and the chips here are all amazing.
cute farmer’s markets everywhere
-coke out of a real glass bottle…..it just tastes different here, you have to try it…
-“Squash” – this is concentrated fruit juice sold at the grocery store, for some reason it is amazing and makes a TON of juice or rum punch
-quick, cheap meal – ground chicken, shredded cheese & taco seasoning from the grocery store (maybe plain yogurt or sour cream, block olives), plus lettuce, onion, green pepper, maybe an avocado and the above salsa…makes a spectacular taco salad that we eat at least once a week.
-if you see someone walking around with a bin on their shoulder, stop them! Especially if it is Justin with his little bakery things or the Mayan lady with donuts, they are cheap and awesome.
These are enough tips to eat cheaply for a week and not get sick of it….and then for dinner, you can eat at Omar’s, Dawn’s, or Wende’s, J-Dees,, the Galley, etc…..nice local sit down places, and get the special, you can eat dinner for about $5-8usd!