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Jun 29, 2020

Foodie Expo Held in Belize City

A gastronomic event took place this weekend; it was a Foodie Expo that brought together persons in the food industry.  It was staged at 501 Hub in Belize City on Saturday.  Due to the lookdown and the closure of restaurants and food vending, these businesses have taken a hit, so the expo presented them with the opportunity to showcase a wide variety of authentic food available throughout the country. There were sweet, vegan and savoury treats including vegan nachos, sushi, and even wines. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo with a report. 


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Creator of Vegan Bites Anigi Ramirez shares an unfortunate experience that thousands of Belizeans are now experiencing.


Anigi Ramirez, Vegan Bites

“I was working before and when the pandemic came into effect I lost my job. And so I focus more on my business.”


We caught up with Ramirez at the 501 Hub’s first Foodie Expo this weekend.


Anigi Ramirez

“I came because I wanted the exposure. It is good and I wanted to introduce people to healthier options.”


And she introduced us to her cauliflower tacos and vegan nachos.


Anigi Ramirez

“This is meat substitute. So what I did is to mimic the chicken, the cauliflower as chicken. Season it and cook it as though you are cooking meat.”


Anigi Ramirez

Hipolito Novelo

“Does it taste like chicken?”


Anigi Ramirez

“It tastes like chicken. Even nicer and healthier than chicken.”


Hipolito Novelo

“And this is the one you use for nachos. It looks like grind meat, but it is not.”


Anigi Ramirez

“It is not grind meat. It is made from cashew, walnuts and whole wheat seasoned as though you are seasoning chicken.”


Hipolito Novelo

“How has the reaction been from the public been so far?”


Anigi Ramirez

“Good, good. Actually I am surprised so many people visited the booth and tasted the vegan food because it is something new to them. My best seller is the cauliflower tacos today.”


The two day Foodie Expo brought to together food exhibitors from across the country to establish a new customer base,  bridging the gap of the losses incurred since the COVID-19 breakout to now when the economy is slowly reopening.


Lorena Zaldana

Lorena Zaldana, Manager, 501 Hub Restaurant

“My idea of doing this was to kind of get these businesses some income from sales they would be generating here.”


And the customers were lining up, eager to get their hands on the tasty treats. The number of persons inside the 501 Hub was controlled at a hundred, with hand sanitizer being distributed at the entrance.

Inside, visitors would find this twelve-year old inspiration. Maria Elena Cambranes is a junior entrepreneur. A few of this “Little Belizean Baker’s products included cinnamon rolls, red velvet cupcakes, and cookies.


Maria Elena Cambranes

Maria Elena Cambranes, Little Belizean Baker

“A lot of people said that it is something good that I am doing and they loved my treats.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Why did you decide to be part of this expo today?”


Maria Elena Cambranes

“Because I wanted to introduce people to my goodies, and also make taste how my stuff taste and I also wanted people to see that anybody can do what they want as long at they put their mind to it. It doesn’t matter the age.”


Vinotopia was also attracting visitors at the Foodie Expo. Owner Solange Villanueva combines boutique wine with charcuterie.


Solange Villanueva

Solange Villanueva, Vinotopia

“We carry boutique wines which means that you don’t find these on shelves anywhere n the world actually. They are from small vineyards so small production, mostly organic wines and more high quality wine.  I just came today to offer a little sample of my cheese and meat plates. Some cheese and breadsticks.”


And coming from San Pedro was Sushie Lifeline. The owner says visitors have been keeping him very busy and he is grateful for that.


Sushi Lifeline

“Sushi, ramen, dumpling, soup delivery from San Pedro to Belize. We make up the pop up sushi. She is my friend’s friend, so we planned to join together but she couldn’t make it so I am here.”


Hipolito Novelo

“You are busy?”


Sushi Lifeline

“Busy. I didn’t inspect it to be busy like this.”


Given the success of this year’s Foodie Expo, organizer Lorena Zaldana now has the decision whether to make it an annual event.


Lorena Zaldana

“Actually people are expecting it to happen in two weeks or month. So I think it all depends on how the economy moves.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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