BELIZEAN Facts & Figures
Size: 8,867 square miles
Currency: Belize Dollar
Weather / Climate:
Belizehas a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons, although there are significant variations in weather patterns by region. Temperatures vary according to elevation, proximity to the coast, and the moderating effects of the northeast trade winds off the Caribbean. Average temperatures in the coastal regions range from 24 °C (75.2 °F) in January to 27 °C (80.6 °F) in July. Temperatures are slightly higher inland, except for the southern highland plateaus, such as the Mountain Pine Ridge, where it is noticeably cooler year round. Overall, the seasons are marked more by differences in humidity and rainfall than in temperature.
Average rainfall varies considerably, ranging from 1,350 mm (53.1 in) in the north and west to over 4,500 mm (177.2 in) in the extreme south. Seasonal differences in rainfall are greatest in the northern and central regions of the country where, between January and April or May, fewer than 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain fall per month. The dry season is shorter in the south, normally only lasting from February to April. A shorter, less rainy period, known locally as the "little dry," usually occurs in late July or August, after the initial onset of the rainy season.
Hurricanes have played key—and devastating—roles in Belizean history. In 1931 an unnamed hurricane destroyed over two-thirds of the buildings in Belize City and killed more than 1,000 people. In 1955 Hurricane Janet levelled the northern town of Corozal. Only six years later, Hurricane Hattie struck the central coastal area of the country, with winds in excess of 300 km/h (186 mph) and 4 m (13.1 ft) storm tides. The devastation of Belize City for the second time in thirty years prompted the relocation of the capital some 80 kilometres (50 mi) inland to the planned city of Belmopan. Hurricane Greta caused more than US$25 million in damages along the southern coast in 1978. On 9 October 2001, Hurricane Iris made landfall at Monkey River Town as a 145 mph (233 km/h) Category Four storm. The storm demolished most of the homes in the village, and destroyed the banana crop. In 2007 Hurricane Dean made landfall as a Category 5 storm only 25 miles north of the Belize/Mexico border. Dean caused extensive damage in northern Belize.
The most recent hurricane to affect Belize directly was the Category 2 Hurricane Richard, making landfall approximately 20 miles south-southeast of Belize City at around 0045 UTC on 25 October 2010. The storm moved inland towards Belmopan, causing estimated damage of BZ$33.8 million ($17.4 million 2010 USD), primarily from damage to crops and housing.
Taken from: www.wikipedia.com
English is the official language of Belize, a former British colony. Although only 4 percent of the population speaks it as their first language, a majority speak English very well. Kriol is spoken as the first language of 33 percent of Belizeans. It is considered by some linguists to be a dialect of English, as the two are mutually intelligible. About 75 to 80 percent of the population speak some Kriol and English.Spanish is the first language of 46 percent, and is spoken very well by a majority of Belizeans.Mayan languages and Garifuna are the first languages of about 12 percent of the population. The Germanic Plautdietsch dialect, Chinese, Hindustani and other languages are mother tongues of about 5 percent of the population.
English is the primary language of public education, with Spanish taught in primary and secondary school as well. Bilingualism is very common. Literacy currently stands at nearly 80%.
Colonisation, slavery, and immigration have played major roles in affecting the ethnic composition of the population and as a result, Belize is a country with numerous cultures, languages, and ethnic groups.The country's population is currently estimated to be a little over 333,000.Mestizos comprise about 34% of the population, Kriols 25%, Spanish 15%, Maya 11%, and Garinagu 6%.
Belizean cuisine is an amalgamation of all ethnicities in the nation of Belize, and their respectively wide variety of foods. Breakfast consists of bread, flour tortillas, or fry jack that are often homemade. Fry jacks aren't only served in Belize. In fact, they go by many different names all over the world—beignets in New Orleans, sopapillas in Mexico and the American southwest, or often, simply 'fried dough'. It is eaten with various cheeses, refried beans, various forms of eggs or cereal, topped off by milk for younger ones and coffee or tea for adults. Midday meals vary, from lighter foods such as rice and beans or beans and rice with or without coconut milk, tamales, panades, (fried maize shells with beans or fish) and meat pies, escabeche (onion soup), chirmole (soup), stew chicken and garnaches (fried tortillas with beans, cheese, and sauce) to various constituted dinners featuring some type of rice and beans, meat and salad or coleslaw. In the rural areas meals may be more simplified than in the cities; the Maya use recado, corn or maize for most of their meals, and the Garifuna are fond of seafood, cassava (particularly made into cassava bread or Ereba) and vegetables. The nation abounds with restaurants and fast food establishments selling fairly cheaply. Local fruits are quite common, but raw vegetables from the markets less so. Mealtime is a communion for families and schools and some businesses close at midday for lunch, reopening later in the afternoon.
Mestizo and Maya
Regular deli items originally from the Mestizo culture that are now considered pan-Belizean include garnaches, fried corn tortilla smeared with beans and shredded cheese, tamales made from corn and chicken or its sister and panades which can be thought of as a fried corn patty with beans or seasoned shredded fish inside and topped by a tangy onion sauce.
The most famous Maya dish is called Caldo. Tortillas, cooked on a comal and used to wrap other foods (meat, beans, etc.), were common and are perhaps the most well-known pre-Columbian Mesoamerican food. Tamales consist of corn dough, often containing a filling, that are wrapped in a corn husk and steam-cooked. Both atole and pozole were liquid based gruel-like dishes that were made by mixing ground maize (hominy) with water, but being the first much more dense used as a drinking source and the second one with complete big grains of maize incorporated into a chicken broth. Though these dishes could be consumed plain, other ingredients were added to diversify flavor, including, for example, honey, chiles, meat, seafood, cacao, wild onions, and salt.
Several different varieties of beans were grown, including pinto, red, and black beans. Other cultivated crops, including fruits, contributed to the overall diet of the ancient Maya, including tomato, chile peppers, avocado, breadnut, guava, guanabana, papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, and sweet potato. Various herbs were grown and used, including vanilla, epazote, achiote (and the annatto seed), white cinnamon, hoja santa, avocado leaf, and garlic vine.
Kriols in general eat a relatively balanced diet. The Bile Up (or Boil Up) is consider the cultural dish of the Belizean Kriols. It is combination Boiled Eggs, Fish and/or Pig tail, with a number of ground foods such as Cassava, Green Plantains, Yams, Sweet Potatoes, cocoa, and Tomato Sauce. In Belize, cassava is traditionally made into "bammy," a small fried cassava cake inherited from the Garifuna. The cassava root is grated, rinsed well, dried, salted, and pressed to form flat cakes about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. The cakes are lightly fried, then dipped in coconut milk and fried again. Bammies are usually served as a starchy side dish with breakfast, with fish dishes or alone as a snack. Cassava Pone is a traditional Belizean Kriol and pan-West Indian dessert recipe for a classic cassava flour cake sometimes made with coconuts and raisins.
The Kriol fish seré is similar to a dish from the Garifuna culture, called hudut. There are two main types of hudut – one made with coconut milk, similar to the seré described above, but made with mashed half-ripe plantain. The other type does not use coconut milk and may best be compared to a spicy fish soup – of course, less spice to taste. If you are really brave, you can “bos a pepa” into the mix! Belizean pepper sauce is famous, whether it’s the hot habanero or the more temperate jalapeño!
Every single part of the coconut has some use: the dried husk for ornamental arts and for getting the fire going in a bar-b-cue; the water as a refreshing beverage or as a mixer with alcoholic drinks; the meat grated for its milk for uses as described above, or in other preparations, like the distinctive coconut-flavored taste of Kriol bread and bun. Dukunu is a dish made with sweetened starch (usually cornmeal but can also be sweet corn wrapped and boiled in aluminum foil or a banana leaf. Cahn Sham is ground or powdered sweetened parched corn. The dried grated coconut meat, after you mix with water and squeeze out its milk, provides the basis for many Belizean desserts. Like coconut pie and tarts, coconut crust (the grated coconut is sweetened with sugar and baked in a flour crust folded over like a patty), tablata, which is the grated coconut meat mixed with thin ginger slices, sugar and water, baked and cut into squares; there is also the version called cut-o-brute, which is made of chunks of coconut instead of the grated pieces; and then there is trifle, made with half green grated coconut, milk, flour, sugar, eggs, lemon essence, margarine and baking powder (think of it as coconut cake), and coconut fudge and coconut ice cream to mention just some of the delicious coconut-based desserts.
Now let’s get a quick taste of some of the other traditional Belizean cuisine regulars which you can find on most menus. Often, restaurants will earmark a particular item for a particular day of the week (with rice-and-beans always daily!). Let’s start with breakfast. Sizzling fry jacks or earthy Johnny cakes accompanied by fried beans with sausage and/or eggs makes for a hearty Belizean breakfast. Both the jacks and Johnny cakes are made from flour, but while the jacks are flattened and fried, the Johnny cakes are round fluffy savory biscuits. Just a pat of butter melting with a slice of cheese on a hot Johnny cake is often enough to start the day!
Among the main staples of a Kriol dinner are rice and beans with some type of meat and salad, whether potato, vegetable, or coleslaw, seafoods including fish, conch, lobster, some game meats including iguana, deer, peccary and gibnut; and ground foods such as cassava, potatoes, cocoa and plantains. Fresh juice or water are typically served, occasionally replaced by soft drinks and alcoholic beverages (homemade wines made from berries, cashew, sorosi, grapefruit and rice are especially common). Typical desserts include sweets such as wangla and powderbun, cakes and pies, and potato pudding (pound). Usually to be seen on a breakfast table are specially made bread and bun (officially named after them), johnny-cakes and fry-cakes (also called fry jacks). In recent years Kriols have adopted foods from other groups as they have adopted theirs.
There is a wide variety of Garifuna dishes , including the more commonly known ereba (cassava bread) made from grated cassava or manioc. This is done in an ancient and time-consuming process involving a long, snake-like woven basket (ruguma) which strains the cassava of its juice. It is then dried overnight and later sieved through flat rounded baskets (hibise) to form flour that is baked into pancakes on a large iron griddle. Ereba is fondly eaten with fish, hudutu (pounded plantains) or alone with gravy (lasusu). Others include: Bundiga (a plantain lasusu), Mazapan, and Bimacacule (sticky sweet rice).
There is a difference in the flavors of meats, such as turkey and chicken, from other countries because of differences in the diet of the animals being fed on local foodstuffs as opposed to imported grains. Belizean chickens in particular some allege compared to other chickens have an unusually rich flavor. Belizeans eat much more chicken and fish than beef or pork.
- Green Banana
- Chayote (locally known as "chocho")
- Yam (vegetable)
- Black Pepper
- Dried and salted cod (locally known as "salt fish")
- Salted Beef
- Cow feet
- Pig Tail
- Coconut milk
- Passion fruit
- Sugar cane
- Browning Sauce
- Mamey sapote (locally known as "Mahmee")
- Avocado (locally known as "pear")
- Black bean
- Kidney bean
- Roselle (plant) (locally known as "sorrel")
- Tamarind (locally known as "Tambran")
- Golden apple
- Malay apple
- conch fritter
- Curry chicken
- Rice and beans - rice stewed with beans and coconut milk.
- Brown Stew Chicken, Brown Stew Beef
- Escoveitch Fish
- Conch Soup
- Callaloo and Saltfish
- Cabbage and Saltfish
- Steamed Fish
- Renta Pineapple Drink
Taken from Wikipedia
Places to go in BELIZE
Doing business in BELIZE