We recently spent a week in Punta Gorda, Belize. For two vegans, this meant doing a little research on what our options were for meals and to be prepared to be flexible in this Central American country.
The inside of the restaurant looked like a busy Caribbean kitchen, unlike any restaurant we’d ever seen. A round woman in a t-shirt and skirt who acted as both waitress and cook wordlessly led us to the deck where she covered a wooden table with a colorful cloth and took our drink orders. Reggae versions of 80’s music played on the sound system. We were the only customers.
|You may be cool but you’ll never be
Belizean Rastafarian tofu-making cool.
|Dragon fruit, papaya, pineapple and banana.|
|What?! Ian’s rum punch isn’t mentioned?|
Dinner was a treat! Homemade bread or rolls, delicious soup and a hearty entree awaited us on the nights Kate was in the kitchen. On our last night, we had tofu with cohune cabbage. I enjoy cabbage but it didn’t sound like a good combination until it was explained to me that cohune cabbage was otherwise known as hearts of palm. It was fantastic and Kate kindly sent the recipe after we returned home.
“The flood flies have hatched. Kate can’t cook.”
Flood flies are winged termites and they make a grand entrance for about four hours and then disappear. They swarm and head for the nearest light source before losing their wings and dying. A sad short life. We turned out the lights in our cottage and piled into Ian’s truck to go to Asha’s Culture Kitchen in Punta Gorda.
On our second to last day in Belize, we headed to Belcampo Lodge for lunch and massages. A beautiful resort, they pride themselves on being a farm to table restaurant. Unfortunately, we got a glimpse of the unsuspecting farm animals soon to be taking that trip to the table.
We were there for the organic produce and promise of great food. We explained to our waiter that we’re vegan and he was very helpful in guiding us through the ordering process. We decided on tortilla chips as an appetizer which came with a dip on the side. When we asked what it was, we were told it was hummus.
It didn’t look like any hummus we’d had before but we tried it and I immediately tasted something non-vegan.
“Is there mayo in the hummus?” I asked.
“No, no mayo. Yogurt.” Immediately, we witnessed the poor waiter’s light bulb moment when he realized he had just given two vegans a dairy product. He apologized profusely and whisked the plate away to replace the “hummus” with salsa.
Our meal at Belcampo was less than memorable; two vegetable wraps that didn’t impress either of us. But the view was stellar and watching the hummingbirds flutter around our table while we ate made it all worthwhile.
We both feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to visit this wonderful country with its beautiful, gracious people and delicious food. As always when traveling, it’s challenging to adhere to a vegan diet but we never went hungry and so many were eager to accommodate us. I told Kate before we left that she may have a new niche market for vegans with her phenomenal cooking skills. I’m not sure if she’s happy about that or not.