Like music, the Garifuna closely identify with their food and drink, including fish, chicken, cassava, bananas, plantains coconut milk and rice. The national dish of Belize is stew chicken, rice and beans-different from beans and rice. (Rice and beans is mixed together and beans and rice is stewed beans served separately from rice.)
There are several traditional dishes they make that can be found at several of the Hopkins restaurants. Darasa, is the Garifuna version of a tamale. It is made from green bananas and can be made with fish or chicken. Bundiga is seasoned fish with grated banana and coconut milk-gravy. Hudut is a coconut milk fish soup served over mashed plantains. Hudut is my favorite of the Garifuan dishes, but I must warn you that a nap is in order after eating this filling dish. Fish cooked in coconut milk is called serre.
Cassava bread is extremely labor intensive and takes two-days to make, and served at most meals. I think it tastes like a potato if it is just peeled and put in a soup or something. But cassava bread tastes more like a cracker, to me. Cassava chips are some of my favorite. I eat them just like you would potato chips and they are nice and salty. I prefer cassava chips to plantain chips.
Other Garifuna breads are bun, powder bun, and coconut or creole bread. Banana bread, cassava pudding, or pumpkin bread are common too. Many times, children or ladies sell them after school and before supper. We serve all at for breakfast at Hopkins Inn.
Where to go for cultural dishes?
La Runi Hati, moonlight or moonrise beach in Garifuna, is the only restaurant that serves cassava fries. Marva, the owner and chef, is unique in that she is also the only one that serves fish fajitas as well. She serves all the local dishes as well.
Tina’s serves all the local dishes, but usually only features one of them as her daily special. If you call her in advance though, you may order any of them. They usually run $12BZ.
Innie’s serves all the local dishes every day, for about $20BZ. On Monday nights, they have live drumming. If you are only in town for a few days and definitely want to try a local dish, this is where to go because they are regularly open and serve several of the local dishes daily. They also have “fish tea” -fish cooked in its broth with several vegetables.
Belfuna Women’s Cooperative-Belfuna makes breads daily and they are ready late afternoon, early evening. Here one can find bread, bun, and johnny cakes. At Hopkins Inn, we purchase regularly from Raquel, the head baker.