Conch Season Opened October 1st: My First Taste at El Fogon Restaurant
A Conch Fiesta Lunch at El Fogon in San Pedro, Belize
Conch season opens October 1st each year. The queen conch – which is actually a marine snail and a mollusk – is a very traditional food on Ambergris Caye LOVED by those who live here. And those who visit.
The queen conch forms a beautiful large shell…and to be legally harvested and eaten they MUST be at least 7 inches long in the shell. The cleaned meat must be 3 oz in size and no restaurant can store/freeze chopped conch meat so that these standards can be checked and regulated. The season closes June 30 to October 1st. The season often closes earlier – April or May – if the national quota has been set.
I admire those who abstain from conch as they become more and more scarce. And veganism – is an ideal I would love to get to at some point but man…I do love me some conch. It’s my favorite seafood in Belize.
I think everyone in Belize has their favorite conch dish. For many on Ambergris Caye, it’s classic ceviche. Or there is cracked conch – fried strips of breaded conch. Conch soup – more like a light coconutty chowder but what I was craving was CONCH FRITTERS.
They are served all over the island and all over the country. And while they can be too bready or too oily…too doughy or too bland, El Fogon Restaurant makes them as perfect as I can imagine.
Here are some pictures of my day AND my lunch at El Fogon.
The fogon is at the back…imparting smoky flavor to so much of what they make.
The conch shell is used for decor as well…from lights to the fixture in the ladies room.
They have a few BIG beauties. This one, I believe, is actually a Horse Conch – also called locally Mymula. The meat is tougher but still delicious.
There are some cool facts about the queen conch on this page– including the list of the conchs’ predators. Three: Horse conch, loggerhead turtles and the most deadly…man.
Please try to ignore my hand looking like a ham hock.
Let’s get to the food!
The conch fritters. So much conch flavor.
In fact, good-sized chunks of conch right in there.
I always need a close up
We even ordered dessert – when the waiter suggested frozen coconut cheesecake…on such a hot day…who could say no.
Tons of freshly grated coconut. SO GOOD.
Love love love. I couldn’t have had a better “first conch of the season experience”.
A few more pics around town…
The view from Fido’s Courtyard Bar and Restaurant.
Flowers (and mosquitos) are starting to bloom now that we are getting some rain. (We had 6 months or so with barely a drop)
And a “backyard” view in Tres Cocos- about 1 mile north of the bridge.
A quick update!
Two things: My site is going to be down for a few hours to possible 24 hours soon. The website needs more room – and will be undergoing some testing. And even more exciting…
My book is going to be available NEXT WEEK in soft copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Currently on Amazon as an ebook – you will be able to have it and hold it next week. I just got my 13th review. Thank you to those who wrote great reviews – it makes a big difference!
How great does this look? Thank you SO much Richard at Slackertide!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stay tuned and as always, sign up below for my updates and monthly newsletters to be the first to know.