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Jul 1, 2022

Sampling the Foods for the Belize International Music and Food Festival

The countdown to the first-ever Belize International Music and Food Festival that will be taking place at Saca Chispas in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye continues.  The mega concert is now only four weeks away. On Thursday, we headed to the island town to sample some of the amazing foods that will be on sale for the two-day event. In early June, the call was made for the best of the best in local cuisine to make the cut – eighteen have been selected – and we made our taste buds do the judging.  News Five’s Duane Moody was there and files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

La Isla Bonita, San Pedro will take center stage for the first-ever Belize International Music and Food Festival on the weekend of July thirtieth.


And while there will be no shortage of sun, sand and surf for domestic and international tourists, the festival is a showcase of culture and will feature the best in Belizean foods – from the fire hearth, smoky rice and beans to sliding-off-the-bone barbecue pork ribs, stuff jacks, the best tacos and pupusas. Eighteen vendors have been selected and there is something for everyone. Did I say sushi?


Jyoto Sushi Restaurant is owned by the only Japanese national in San Pedro. Located on the property at Mahogany Bay, the restaurant has been in existence for five years; Executive Chef Oneyda Lara works in international cuisine and is excited about sharing the best Japanese cuisine – with a sushi and ramen booth.


Oneyda Lara

Oneyda Lara, Executive Chef, Jyoto Restaurant

“We have a variety, we have the Japanese curry, we have the buns, we have the dumplings, we have the wanton – we have different variety. We have the ramen which is amazing along the sushi. We have the beautiful barrier reef; we have all kinds of fishes – we have snapper, we have wayo, so we enjoy that. Learning new types of fishes every day and then being able to serve this to the people in sushi roles, it is amazing. Jyoto is trying to bring culture to Belize because Belize is developed in different types of ethnics and cultures, but bringing Japan to Belize is something else, a next level. And being able to use Belizean products to Japanese cuisine it’s amazing. And we are focusing to teach Belizeans how to enjoy Japan food in Belize. Must try everything because everything that we do is very freshly, very amazing flavours and if you’re going to something more like a soup flavor, we have the ramen 501 booth and then if you want something like sushi then we have Jyoto there as well.”


Who has the best barbecue in town? One popular spot on the island, Estel’s, is known for its all-day sumptuous breakfast. Having been established over three decades and named after its matriarch Estel Worthington, they are also known for their finger-licking smoked everything. Pork ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage – you name it – everything is smoked for hours and the meat is literally falling off the bone – this is outside of fish, lobster, conch, shrimp.  It’s another option at the Belize International Music and Food Festival and we had to taste it all, including their signature barbecue sauce weh wahn mek yo wahn “slap yo granny.”


Charles Worthington

Charles Worthington, Manager, Estel’s by the Sea

“We’ve learned to do barbecue. My dad started barbecue and it was like the regular burn and turn as everybody know, but we try to look and do better so we started doing a little more smoking and long term cooking and it paid off. We have a lot of fun; we have our drinks by the grill that keeps the juice going. The meat in Belize is amazing. We have great suppliers for our pork, beef, chicken – Mennonite mainly but it is a great product – brisket was kinda hard to play with cause it is a tough cut, so we started getting brisket down then we did beef ribs. I have pork ribs, we have chicken. We do pork chops, sausage, we do gizzard and we do it fried or ceviche or salpicon, if yo want put it. It is fun, bar food when that when yo have some drinks, it’s different. We are looking forward to having some of our top cut products on our menu. We’re gonna have chicken ribs sausage and brisket. We are going to do a combo and we are going to do a smoked pork tacos al pastor. So our rendition of it, not the regular taco one, but a little Mexican/Belizean blend there. This is only a glimpse of the different foods that will be at the Belize International Music and Food Festival. And right now we are trying the first ever sample of it. Heaven in dough form.


Duane Moody for News Five

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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