Walking into Little Belize, it was interesting to note that there wasn’t a whole of seating. There were some booths on two sides of the restaurant and a bar with bar stools. The middle of the restaurant was empty. I think in the evening it turns into a mini night club. Since we had such a big meal at Nana & Naa, we decided to stick with ordering some of their appetizers and considering that they were between $1.00 to $3.00 each, it wasn’t that much of a financial hardship.
One thing to mention is that the names of the some of the appetizers were unfamiliar. When we asked the owner to describe them for us, it was easy to see that he took a lot of pride in his country’s dishes. As he was describing the appetizers, they seemed similar to other Latin or South American dishes. However, when we compared his description of the “garnarche” to a tostada, we were told nicely, but firmly, that no, the garnache is not a tostada, it’s a garnache. Also, the “panade” is not an empanada, it’s a panade and so on. To learn more about Belizean food, check out Belizean Journeys.
Anyway, we ended up sharing 4 appetizers and one dessert. The first one we tried was their Chicken Tamal. Wrapped in a banana leaf, the masa itself was moist and the chicken filling had a lot of flavor. Click here to learn more about tamale making the Belizean way.
Then I had my first taste of the garnaches, which were fried corn tortillas with black beans and cheese. Garnaches could also be topped with onions, but they weren’t that missed in this case. It’s amazing how a food can only have 3 ingredients, but still be absolutely delicious. That definitely speaks to good food preparation and quality ingredients.
Next were the Salbutes, which were flat round circles of fried corn masa with stewed chicken, tomatoes and cheese. I don’t know what ingredient was mixed into the masa to give it that orange color. Regardless, it gave that masa a different flavor nuance that was appealing and combined with the rest of the ingredients, 3 to 4 of these can make up a nice tasty light lunch.
The last appetizer we shared were the Panades, what the owner referred to as corn turnovers with a tuna filling. These corn turnovers were made up of cornmeal. If I had a choice between an empanada and a panade, I’d go for the panade. What I liked about it was that just enough cornmeal was used to encase the filling and the cornmeal itself was light and crispy. The tuna filling was moist and with every bite, you got cornmeal and fish.
Our foodie journey ended with Little Belize’s Coconut Tarts. After a little reading up, I found out that the dried grated coconut meat, after you mix with water and squeeze out its milk, provides the basis for many Belizean desserts. For our coconut tarts, this grated coconut was more than likely sweetened with sugar and baked in this little mini tart. When it comes to any kind of coconut dessert, the artificial coconut that comes in bags, are definitely not my thing. Once you bit into this tart, it was obvious that only real coconut was used and that’s as it should be.
In looking at the menu of Little Belize, I definitely want to make a return visit. They offer a hash fish and egg dish for breakfast that looked interesting as well as weekend specials like Conch Soup and Pigtails and Pea Soup.