The Mayan food in Belize

by Manal

When I was working as a development instructor in Belize, I was very lucky to get the chance to experience the Mayan cuisine.  In Belize we lived in a Mayan community. We lived very close to a family so we had many opportunities to eat different dishes from the Mayan cuisine.

If I want to be talking about Maya food. Then I will be of course be talking about corn tortillas! Corn is something very important to the Mayan people. It is the crop they grow and cultivate and have been doing it for centuries and it is their main source of income, and main source of food as well.  But these people are really lucky as corn tortillas are very tasty especially when they are coming straight from the Kamal, there were many times when I ran excitedly to get myself some the first second I notice that mama wasbaking.

Corn tortillas are amazing with everything! Jam, eggs, peanut butter! And of course beans! Which is another crop that is also grown by these farmers.  Because of this, the main and constant dish that Mayan people eat is the beans and corn tortillas. The beans are cook as a stew or grinded. And then the beans are eat with the corn tortillas. But this dish is delicious, and that is because they cook the beans with spices. Makes this dish into a very delicious one. And not like any other beans and tortillas! My favorite is the grinded beans with the steaming hot tortillas. It was just so yummy! They also sometimes make flour tortillas or rice instead of corn.

Today the corn tortillas is made from grinded corn. So first they boil the corn. Then the corn is grinded and then made into something call “masa”. Which is then use to make the corn tortillas. Also masa is made of into a hot drink. This drink is the first thing that is give to the farmer when he is back from the farm.

There is another famous dish of Mayan people. This dish have the name of Caldo. The caldo is technically chicken broth with chicken. Which is eat with corn tortillas as well. I didn’t get the chance to try this dish, but it smelled and looked yummy!  Caldo is also prepare with pork, eggs and other vegetables.

But one my very favorite dishes was the Cahoon Cabbage! What is interesting about this cabbage is that it is extract from the Cahoon tree trunk which is a famous tree in the villages, because the leave are use for the roofs of the thatched houses. Cahoon Cabbage is one of the best things I’ve ever have. It is cook with onions and some amazing spices ( I believe it’s something like curry that they use). It is also eat with either rice or tortillas. One very sweet family invited us over for Cahoon Cabbage, we really appreciated this gesture and it tasted beautiful!

I was also very happy to witness an event that the Mayan people experience twice a year and this is when they harvest what they call green corn, which I knew as sweet corn. On this weekend the whole family met and they boiled the corn. They also make this very delicious masa from the grinded sweet corn. This is also one my very best things that I’ve ever had! I still crave those till now!

One thing that made my days in Belize, was the coconut cross. This little piece of paradise is made with flour tortillas stuffed with fried coconut with sugar. Little Jessica, a very sweet girl from the village always came to us first before she went around to sell them in the village.

Of course, there are other dishes that were not mention here. But these were some of the main ones and some of my favorite we will! But I also feel very blessed that I got the chance to live in Mayan village during my Service Period in the Fighting Poverty Program, to be able to eat  the real and authentic taste of the Mayans.

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The Mayan food in Belize
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