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In Belize, food holds true in its own version of sanctity. Whether it is Cultural Day at any given primary school, with panades and bread pudding laid out in disposable foil pans, free for the taking, or around the table on a Sunday evening for a meal that has taken at least three hours to prepare and will inevitably be called “lunch” despite the setting sun—we know our food brings us together, how could it ever do anything else?

With the Belize Collection’s Belmopan Food Tour, we aim to share that sacred celebration with you, over the course of five stops.

1. Funez Taqueria:
The first stopover on this tour offers warm simplicity and classic decadence as ever—tacos, prepared with all the care and sanctity of tradition. A simple booth off the side of the road, Funez Taqueria is situated in the heart of a predominantly Hispanic community, where culture shines through every breath of air, every mouthful.

Manifold by nature, tacos are given up to the discretion of their maker. Pork or chicken, corn or wheat tortilla, to fry or not to fry—taco is a broad term, each one unique to the person who made them, each one a reflection of a life led up to every choice that has gone into its composition.

At Funez Taqueria, this concept carries—juicy shredded chicken and crunching onion and generously applied pepper sauce meeting in the middle, a story written across the rushes of flavor and the feeling of warmth and familiarity bubbling in your chest.

There’s something to be said for the innate human ability to both decipher and revel. Funez Taqueria simply puts it to good use.

2. Calmas Family Ducunu:
The word “ducunu” is practically synonymous with terms like “family”, “community”, and “cooperation”. A grueling affair that requires many hours, abundant patience, and multiple hands on deck, ducunu is many things, but solitary by nature is decidedly not one of them. The general rule of the kitchen goes a little something like this: make together, share together. Ducunu abides by it just the same.

A Garifuna term for a dish derived from the Ancient Mayas, ducunu is crafted almost entirely from ground corn, and presents a unique myriad of flavors compacted into a neat rectangle. Faint with sweetness, almost buttery in texture, and low with something distantly earthy, this classic Belizean food is a culmination of traditional elements and the weight of things that can’t be done alone, but are somehow better for it.

Whether your preference is for saccharinity or savory tang, at this stop, every husk-wrapped delight is served to you nothing short of perfect. The Calmas family in Salvapan forges their specialty through the sacred act of sharing in creation, and makes an art of ducunu for what it is: togetherness.

3. Surf & Turf:
Situated along the South Ring Road stretch, Surf & Turf Grill offers familiar favorites—chicken dip and Belikin beer among them—but it comes as little surprise that the true star of the event remains, as expected, the ceviche.

Originating in Peru, this South American dish also contains multitudes—crafted from the finest the oceans have to offer, be it sea bass, tuna, or even squid. At Surf & Turf, ceviche is done the Belizean way: a lime-filled fusion of shrimp, tomato and onion, scooped into the swell of a tortilla chip for the perfect bite.

Commonly served as a party food or as an appetizer, ceviche is a beloved favorite in the hearts of almost every Belizean for all its diligence and artistry, (because, really, who among us does not understand the trials of sitting with a bowl perched delicately on your lap as you devein an ungodly amount of shrimp) and Surf & Turf does us all proud.

Existing in the perfect balance of shrimp and salsa without skimping on either, every plate shines with all the expected jubilance that follows wherever there is a serving of ceviche. Surf & Turf understands the essentials of what it takes to make this particular dish: how to bring to life the memories that exist within it.

4. Ms. Mary’s Meatpies and Pastries:
Just off the Ring Road, Ms. Mary’s operates out of a modest house blooming with flowers on still Temash Street, surrounded by ardent green and distant windchimes, the smell of warm pastries fresh from the oven drifting down the road.

Feast on Ms. Mary’s legendary lemon pies, a classic of Belizean cuisine and the perfect handheld sweet treat to close off the last meal of the day. Contrary to the name, lemon pies in Belize are crafted with lime, baked golden brown and cracked open to reveal a creamy, citrusy filling. Light, tart, and topped with a fluffy meringue, lemon pies are a casual delicacy—served alongside a plate of turkey dinner, a proffered appeasement from parent to child, a definite breach of the just take one policy at a staff party.

Lemon pies are regarded by the population with grand respect, and a devotion befitting such a revered dessert. Ms. Mary’s offers them to you with all reverence in mind.
This stop is an immersion into Belizean living in all its beautiful simplicity, and a perfect reflector for all that it entails, in the form of Ms. Mary’s lemon pies.

5. Formosa
Situated in one of the busier parts of Belmopan, Formosa Café is one of the oldest and most iconic coffee shops in the city. Overlooking a busy street, but still bright with open air and fresh green, Formosa is an echo of Belmopan on whole—somewhere between bleating car horns under city lights and the comforting twirl of the wind around your shoulders. Beloved in its familiarity, and beloved in its honesty.

For over a decade, whether it’s in search of an afternoon pick-me-up, or in the name of celebrating good news, or simply for the love of a sweet things that slot easy into the curve of your palm, everyone who has ever belonged to the city has flocked here. There is no ending more fitting to this tour.

Highlighting Asian cuisine alongside other common café delicacies, this stop offers a special surprise drink to bring this culinary experience to a close with a burst of flavor and a soft memory to hold onto, at least until you find the bottom of your cup.

Settle into the city with something sweet to guide you there, at Formosa Café.

The City of Belmopan is, as can be said for the country at large, a destination of culture and decadence. Our stories, entwined. Food is what holds us together, what binds us as a community and as a people. Explore the many forms and flavors our cuisine claims as its own, and bask in the city where the layers peel back to reveal it as it is, with the Belize Collection’s Belmopan Food Tour.

Visit with Belize, and discover our every virtue on your own terms.

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