Part 2: Tacos
Breakfast at 8am was fry jacks. 9 am, it was tacos. Double the pleasure, double the fun, and more than you should eat on any morning.
A native Mexican street food, tacos have navigated their way across Belize. Stands street-side sell them, starting at the breakfast hour. They are sold through the day, into the afternoon for lunch, at snacktime, and nightly, as a post-party remedy. When you ask a Belizean what ‘Fast food’ is, they will tell you, “Tacos!” -not a global chain brand; there are none in Belize.
Every manifestation of taco can be found in the city, from deep fried tacos at El Paso filled with chicken, to handmade flour tortilla tacos found at the popular stand called Angie’s.
Angie’s is on Queen Street in the Fort George area of Belize City.
It is not to be missed.
The size of the stand may surprise you. Its smaller than a food truck; about an 8×8 foot stand. Make no mistake, it is a model of efficiency and has to be; they serve over 200 hand-made tacos per-day, six-days-a-week.
Angie Adler, known by the polite, Miss Angie, is at the helm. She and her husband, along with two of her family members, work side-by-side, creating a menu that includes: tacos, burritos, garnaches (an open faced, hard taco round, topped with beans, onion sauce and grated edam) and sausage rolls. Their standard filling is Angie’s homemade stewed chicken that she makes on a daily basis. She cooks the chickens at home, spicing and shredding the meat.
Adler treats the black refried beans with the same sensitivity, cooking them low and slow, so that they become creamy base for the tacos. She follows the same recipe for dough as the fry jack makers, with the exception that her dough is cooked on a hot-as-heck, flat griddle, versus the fryer.
“I been making these for 15 years and each year, more people come.” stated Adler. She taught herself the recipes she uses after moving to Belize close to 20 years ago. The shop is as much part of the neighborhood, as it is part of the generational consciousness of the young adults who attended school next door. “Ive been coming here for I don’t know how many years.” stated Axcel Matus. “Its just so good!”
House tacos come standard on a flour tortilla. Its best to bet with the house, getting the basic tortilla, filled with chicken and homemade cole slaw. $2 BZE never tasted so good.
Make your own tortillas.
They are so tasty, chewy, and scrumptious that whatever you put inside, will have to be good. You will never, and I mean jumping-up-and-down never, want to buy pre-made again.
Here is the recipe:
1 pound of flour – about 4 heaping cups
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup of water
pinch of salt
Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the shortening. Add the water and mix thoroughly. The dough will be shaggy. Keep kneading the dough and turn it out onto greased surface. Knead it until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest, covered about 30 minutes.
Heat skillet or flat griddle on medium high heat.
Grease you rolling surface with vegetable shortening. Cut the dough into golf-ball sized portions and roll each out to a salad plate-sized round. When the skillet is hot, put the tortilla on and cook 1 minute. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. Fill and serve immediately.
Or….cook all the rounds, cool and freeze, placing sheets of waxed paper in-between each tortilla. To reheat, unwrap, defrost, and place in damp dish towel or paper towel. Microwave at thirty-second intervals until warm.
Note: Many people ask,”Is it safe to eat from roadside stands?” My reply is this: Yes, if YOU think it is. Belizean stands have stringent health inspections and licensing requirements. If it looks ok to you, go for it. If not, don’t eat there. Some of the best food comes from street vendors. You will have a change in your system, solely from a change in your diet. Bring medicine and remedies to soothe your symptoms.