I think that America has it all wrong. I spent the first 30-ish years of my life eating my largest meal in the evening – dinner or, if you are from the south USA, supper. Lunch was a quicky…a grab-on-the-run, a filler meal.
True to my American nature, I didn’t think much about it or wonder if that was how things were done in the rest of the world. It wasn’t until I started traveling that I realized that it wasn’t the norm. Many countries – in fact most, I think, take their biggest meals at mid-day or early afternoon.
Whether it’s to fuel the afternoon’s work or because people take a few hours off in the heat of the afternoon to feast and rest, it makes perfect sense. And…I love it.
Especially the feast and siesta part.
In Belize, lunch is often the big meal. The busiest time by far is Noon to One. Some businesses – like govt offices or shops – close during that time for lunch hour. And if you get to some of the most popular local delis after those hours — the daily special (whether it’s Escabeche, pig tail or Black Soup) can be sold out.
There is even MORE of a reason to love your lunch these days. With the growth of our island – both in popularity and population – we have SO many choices. An overflow of options. An abundance of alternatives.
To highlight just some of it, here is what I ate just this week on Ambergris Caye. If you had shown me this list 10 years ago…when I first moved to San Pedro…I wouldn’t have believed it.
An ode to my favorite meal and the massive DELICIOUS selection that we have in San Pedro.
Fry Fish at Lily’s Treasure Chest — This is the best fish I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. Somehow Lily’s Treasure Chest on the beach in downtown San Pedro has perfected fried fish. Flavorful batter and moist and flaky every single time. The portion is huge, the fries are always well done and crisp…
Or choose a big heap of rice and beans.
We often split a plate — especially when it is conch season. Their conch ceviche is my favorite in a town that has perfected ceviche.
Oh…and the view is not bad either.
Grab one of Regina’s paletas on your way back to the street – super refreshing after lunch.
Double Scoop Waffle Cone at The Truck Stop
Not your traditional lunch but I see nothing wrong replacing a meal with ice cream now and again. Especially when it’s one of the DELICIOUS homemade waffle cones from Cool Cone at the Truck Stop.
Double scoop of Chocolate Brownie and Cookie Crumble – a uber creamy flavor with cinnamon and graham cracker chunks.
Tuesday Pig Tail Special at Briana’s Deli
Deli in Belize means something very different than it does in NYC – where the delicatessen specialized in made-to-order sandwiches.
Here a deli makes local food – often with a daily special that is generally set for the day of the week. My favorite deli is Briana’s on the Back Street. I eat here about two days a week – and my GO-TO dish is Rice and Beans – leg meat.
A heaping plate of stew chicken, rice and beans, cole slaw, fried plantain and served with a small dish of onions and habanero (you can see it next to my pigtail below).
But I SWOON for this Tuesday special – PIGTAIL. A flavorful, salty equivalent to the popular US ham hock or “pig knuckle”. It’s rinsed and boiled to remove a bunch of the salt and used for flavor. (I’ve actually cooked it – see below)
The meat – while not the best looking – is so rich and porky. It’s heaven.
And this abundance of split peas, coconut rice. fried plantain and DUMPLINGS is like a starch tranquilizer dart. Think Thanksgiving afternoon after the big event. What I wouldn’t give to be immediately airlifted to my bed.
So good. Zzzzzzz….
I also flip for the Meat Balls on Wednesday.
Baguette Sandwich at Delices de France
A French baker at a French bakery in San Pedro? YES! And a serious serious one. The baguette sandwiches are to die for. I especially love the ham and cheese. A schmear of good butter, light on the ham and cheese, the ham providing the necessary salt and romaine lettuce.
I never wanted lettuce in a sandwich until now. It’s what romaine is made for! It provides just a tiny amount of green…and bitter…a bit herbacious…and sigh…perfect.
Sushi Fixe Prix at Jyoto
This may be the craziest addition to our collective lunch choice so far! I mean..SERIOUSLY?!?!?!? Fresh sashimi or nigiri FOR LUNCH? A Japanese chef in San Pedro?
I have lots more to say about Jyoto at Mahogany Bay but for now? Wow.
So just a little preview…
Prices in Belize dollars and include tax. This was my birthday meal – my actual bday being overshadowed originally (and literally) by the August 21 eclipse and now by Tropical Storm Harvey.
Here is Jyoto’s facebook page. And there is lots more to come on that later.
AND, if you’d like to hold onto this post for some idea later, feel free to PIN it.