The Simmons family members try to make up their minds - $3 or $5 fry chicken?

Three months in Belize with my ears open to all things food, I found myself revisiting what I came to know as the “Fry Chicken Legend.”

The story goes like this: Two executive businessmen from the XYZ country came to Belize to scope out the possibility of opening the ABC fried chicken chain. (You can insert your favorite enterprising country and food chain as you see fit.)

The executives toured around Belize extensively, eating at the local fry chicken restaurants, sampling the cuts of meat and documenting the price,  process and suppliers.  After one week in country, they packed their bags and left, abandoning any plans they had to open their franchise.

Why may you ask did these singularly fixated entrepreneurs jump ship, when the country is fertile with fry chicken lovers?  Well, they said, ” We can’t compete with the Belizeans in either Chinese or Kriol run stores.  Its too good and we can’t compete with the low prices.  We would never make it here.”

Fried Chicken in Belize is something of a marvel: everyone eats it and it is cheap, fresh and satisfying. Both Belizean and the newer, Chinese-run restaurants pepper the entire country. Belizeans  love it served with ketchup and a steak sauce gravy- the whole mixture, swimmingly ladled over a bed of french fries, or served aside mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes.

You order it by the monetary amount, a full platter is, “Five dollah fry chicken” equivalent to $2.50 US, and includes a breast, thigh and wing or leg.

The mask on the wall at Syd's in Caye Caulker provides a character backdrop for the ultimate scrumptious platters of fried chicken laid before you.

Top two “Fry Chicken” picks in Belize – We came by this list honestly, eating all over Belize. We know that there are those of you who will tell us that we “missed out on the XYZ shop or ABC restaurant.”  All I can say is, “Bring it on!”  We love fried chicken and will go anywhere for a good plate.

1.) Syd’s in Caye Caulker: Located on the middle street, one block from the eastern shore of the island, Syd’s is a much beloved, (and deservedly so) family restaurant.  For $5BZD you can get the basic plate, or for $9, you get the chicken platter with sides.  the girls were converts and did not speak as they licked the plate clean. Mark left a pile of dust and bones – His face and fingers glistened and all I heard was a crunchy-smack -nom-nom coming from his side of the table.  Syd’s was budget friendly before it became a travel tagline.

2.) Kick Down the Fence – Dean Street, Belize City.  With two locations, one in a funky section of town, the other, in a really funky part of town, its best to go in a group – even better if you are with the locals.  Kick Down has the king of all crusts and a gravy that would make you consider using the chicken skin alone as a utensil to sop it up.  Open up a box of fresh Kick Down chicken, and you will experience the Pied-Piper of all foods.  The name tells you exactly what you will want to do to get it.

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Close runners up?  Let us know your thoughts and post the locations below:

Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons