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Jul 17, 2023

Lobster – in More Delicious Ways than One

Lobster fest – it’s a seasonal event at this time of year when the lobster is prepared in different ways for your palate’s enjoyment, and that you’d be able to eat the delectable shellfish for as long as you stay at the event. That was the order of the day – or the weekend, whether it was in San Pedro, Placencia or Caye Caulker. There was no shortage at these Lobster Fests, which provided a great get-away for people on the mainland to get near the sea and sand. They also created a boost in economic activity for those who rely heavily on the sustainable extraction and sale of the marine resources, and the lobster is at the top. News Five’s Marion Ali went to Caye Caulker for a few hours to get a feel of Lobster Fest 2023. Here’s her report. 


Marion Ali, Reporting

This was the scene on Front Street in Caye Caulker when things finally kicked off closer to noon on Saturday. If you eat lobster, you could have found it prepared in one or more ways that would have surely pleased your palates. Owner of Reina’s Restaurant, Elvis Patt told us that for the day, his restaurant and Bender’s Beach Bar joined resources to come up with a wide variety of lobster dishes.


Elvis Patt

Elvis Patt, Owner, Reina’s Restaurant, Caye Caulker

“We try to do a different menu with different lobsters. It’s Lobster Fest, so we try to get a little bit of everything instead of just the grilled lobster. We have lobster mac and cheese, lobster roll, lobster waffle on a stick. We have coconut lobster curry. We have jerk lobster.”


And while these dishes all sound sophisticated, the ideas for them did not come from among the older folks at all.


Elvis Patt

“These are things I normally make for my kids. You know they like fun food, so these are all stuff we like to eat on a regular basis.”


Marion Ali

Which one do you find most popular?


Elvin Patt

“The lobster mac and cheese. The secret is just don’t try too hard, I think just keep it basic. You know, a lot of people put too much thing, but just keep it simple.”


On the farthest end of Front Street where the festivities were underway, we walked up to Fredrick Elijio in front of a grill loaded with lobsters that had just been seasoned and placed there. He buys shellfish from the fishermen, grills them and sells them to passersby.


Fredrick Elijio

Fredrick Elijio, Sells Grilled Lobster

“Right now, we are grilling some lobster, freshly ketch as you can see, still di move, right? So, this da from the sea, straight to the grill, straight to you fi mek yoh start to eat. We grill fi we lobster strictly with garlic butter. The reason – I just believe that the lobster dehn fresh. And once dehn fresh, you nuh need no lotta seasoning pahn the thing dehn. Lee bit a salt and black peppa, and yoh good.”


Marion Ali

“So you serve that with what?”


Fredrick Elijio

“Well, this comes with rice and beans, coleslaw, and deep fried plantain. This is original white rice with coconut milk rice and beans, coconut milk same way to, fried plantain.”


For people like Elijio and Patt who look forward to Lobster Fest to sell their dishes, the event is a healthy economic boost. Seleny Villanueva-Pott is chairlady of the village.


Seleny Villanueva-Pott

Seleny Villanueva-Pott, Chairlady, Caye Caulker Village Council

“When we have this lobster fest, people from all over, you know, schedule their holiday to come to Caye Caulker on this weekend, so it’s an amazing economic boost for us. The water taxis, the hotels, the restaurants, the food vendors, so it’s really a time for the Caye Caulker community to make some, you know, some good of it all.”


Fredrick Elijio

“The lobster dehn cost $35 and up, depending pahn dehn size. Cause wi got lobster fi like $70, we got lobster fi $80, depending pahn size. (Speaking to son…get one ah dehn big lobster deh fi mi.) Yoh know like, this da wa big lobster right ya soh. I wudda give this lobster fi like w a $70, the reason because like I she, wi work to hard mein. Fisherman dehn come, deh want dehn price same way to, soh I have to mek a lee money fi miself same way, depends pahn the price. If the local dehn come I could like drop ah fi wa lee $50 fi the locals dehn.”


When we met up with Elijio, it was lunch time, when most of the booths were already in full swing. But because Friday night’s opening went into the wee hours of Saturday, none of the food booths were open to serve a lobster breakfast. So if you were an early attendee, you likely had to have breakfast at a restaurant. We visited the Barefoot Caribe Restaurant a short distance from the main lobster fest area. There was where we found the lobster frittata. Melda Peck was in the kitchen preparing this breakfast meal.


Melda Peck

Melda Peck, Kitchen Assistant, Barefoot Caribe Restaurant, Caye Caulker

“This is what we call the lobster frittata, and how it has been done is that we chop up the vegetables, which is the sweet pepper, um, tomato, the zucchini, we call them in cubes, and then the frita, and then we use the lobster meat. We season that with the complete season, and then we stir fry the lobster first, and then we add in the veggies. We mix it up together. Then, we add in the egg, we use two eggs. And then afterwards, we mix it again. And then afterwards, we top it with mozzarella cheese. Then when it has been done, then we put it in the oven to make it, for the cheese to melt. And then we’re gonna sprinkle it with parsley, and then we drop a little bit of sour cream. And then we serve it with the sourdough bread.”


If you couldn’t make it to any of the lobster fests to enjoy these dishes, the lobster season remains open until the end of February 2024.  Marion Ali 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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