Here, our Digital Marketing Executive Silvia explains why a food tour of San Pedro is a great way to get to know Belize. The food tour lasts around 3 hours and will take you to gems throughout the city so make sure you wear your walking shoes!
The first stop is Elvi’s Kitchen which is arguably Ambergris Caye’s most famous restaurant. Our guide tells us the history of Elvi’s Kitchen and its journey from a burger takeaway to today’s award-winning restaurant. The building has been damaged by hurricanes but it has been rebuilt every time and an old tree still decorates the restaurant’s interior as a witness of the days gone by. At Elvi’s we try the first dish on our tour: Mayan Fish cooked in Elvi’s Mayan Adobo Sauce and steamed in a banana leaf. All watered down with refreshing sugar cane juice.
From Elvi’s Kitchen, we walk 5-minutes to our next stop: Lily’s Treasure Chest, a tiny restaurant on the beach. A line of cold beer bottles await us and so our beer tasting session begins! This session includes: Belikin, a beer produced in Belize and Belikin Stout which has been created because the owner of Belikin Brewing liked Guinness so much. The country used to import Guinness in the late 1940s until Belize Brewing Company obtained the license to start bottling Guinness locally. We also sampled Guinness Foreign Extra, Lighthouse and Belikin Premium which is kind of rare in the country. All paired with a delicious ceviche.
After another short walk, we reach the San Pedrano Store which is a convenience store that sells Regina’s paletas. Paletas are extremely popular in Mexico and Central America and they are ice lollies consisting of frozen fruit juice or fruit chunks on a stick. There are lots of flavours to choose from: coconut, mango, sour sop, pineapple, sugar corn and many other tropical temptations. They taste absolutely amazing and are a cool treat on such a hot evening in San Pedro.
The next place to grab a bite is Briana’s Food Place, where local San Pedranos eat. It’s a good place to try some garnaches and panades. Garnaches are tortillas topped with beans, shredded cabbage and lots of cheese. Panades (also known as empanadas outside Belize) are made of corn dough, filled with chicken, fish or vegetables and deep fried. But wait, there’s more: salbutes are deep-fried, puffy tortillas with pulled chicken and slices of fresh vegetables and pickles; it is believed that they originate from the Mestizo culture, but they have become a firm favourite of local Belizeans. The visit ends with a generous portion of fry jacks and refried beans. Fry jacks are typically a breakfast dish, but they go down well even in the evening.
Our guide thinks it is time for something a little bit stronger, so we hit Saul’s Cigar & Coffee Shop for some rum and liqueur tasting. We had a fun session sampling rum cream, coffee liqueur and the Belizean Pantiripa which is made made of coconut rum & pineapple juice.
For our next gastronomic adventure, we are introduced to Salvadoran pupusas which is thick corn tortilla stuffed with savoury fillings. Then tour its onto our final stop, Hotel Caprice for a flan and a cooling breeze. This hotel opened in 1965 by Celi Nunez, a pioneer of tourism in San Pedro, and it was the first hotel to open in town.
Other places to eat in Belize:
• Coleman’s Cafe: a simple restaurant in the Toledo District which makes the most delicious stew beans and rice in the country
• The enchantingly rustic El Fogon in San Pedro
• Ixcacao in San Felipe where the Queen of Chocolate makes the best chicken in chocolate sauce (lunch is included in the visit to the cacao farm)
• Portofino Restaurant on Ambergris Caye which is excellent for fine dining