Belizean Fast Food: 10 Must-Try Local Dishes

Miss Bertha's Tamales on Hummingbird Highway in Southern Belize
Reading Time: 4 mins

Everyone loves fast food, even in Belize, but American fast-food chains don’t exist in the country. So when Belizeans need a fast-food fix, they head to street vendors, market stalls, small restaurants, and hole-in-the-wall places for quick local meals that are cheap, filling and delicious. I’m talking about popular local foods such as panades, salbutes, garnaches, tacos, stuffed fry jack, bollos/tamales, burritos, fry chicken, rice and beans, and BBQ.

1. Garnaches

Belizean Garnaches

Garnaches consists of crispy corn tortillas topped with refried beans, shredded Calavera cheese, and a spicy cabbage slaw. This snack is widely available at street stalls and markets throughout Belize, providing a cheap, yet satisfying meal option. Garnaches are perfect for those seeking a quick bite with a kick of local flavor.

2. Salbutes

Salbutes in Belize

Easily one of my favourite fast foods, Salbutes consists of a puffy fried corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken and chopped cabbage, tomato and cilantro. Depends where you are in Belize, some places may add additional items to Salbutes such as avocado, cheese, and jalapenos.

3. Stuffed Fry Jack

Belizean Fry Jacks

One of my favourite meals to get on the go is a stuffed fry jack. It is a fry jack that has been filled with either refried beans or ground beef. It is typically eaten with a spicy coleslaw or onion sauce. Stuffed Fry Jacks are often sold at hole in the wall restaurants but street vendors sometimes offer a wrap version where you get a fry jack with beans and homemade hot sauce in the middle.

4. Street Tacos

Orange Walk Tacos

Commonly eaten for breakfast or lunch, especially in Cayo and Orange Walk, Street Tacos consist of fresh corn tortillas that are rolled with a filling of chicken, minced cabbage, and a bit of habanero onion sauce. It is typically sold by street food vendors at high-trafficked areas and market squares but it can also be found at local eateries.

5. Panades

Panades in Belize

Panades is Belize’s answer to the empanada. Corn dough is filled with either fish, chicken, beans, or potatoes and then deep-fried to golden perfection. This delicious pocket of flavor is often served with a side of tangy onion sauce or spicy cabbage slaw. Panades can be found at fast food stands and eateries throughout Belize.

6. Burritos


Belizean-style burrito wraps local flavors in a soft flour tortilla. It features spiced meat such as stew chicken, refried beans, and vegetables. Found at most restaurants, market stalls and roadside vendors, burritos are a quick and cheap flavorful snack for those seeking to indulge in Belize’s version of a burrito.

7. Bollos or Tamales

Belizean bollos vs tamales

Bollos and Tamales are both traditional dishes of Central America that are made of corn dough (masa) which is filled with seasoned chicken or pork and wrapped in a smoked plantain leaf. Belizean families with Mestizo and Mayan backgrounds typically make them during festivals and special events but you can find it year round at local markets and street food vendors.

8. Belizean BBQ chicken

BBQ Chicken with Belizean Rice and Beans

A popular street food found throughout Belize, Belizean BBQ Chicken is known for its smoky flavor and unique blend of Caribbean spices. Grilled by vendors in towns across the country, it’s a must-try for a true taste of Belizean cuisine​. It is typically served wrapped in flour tortilla with sweet ketchup and onion pepper sauce but some places offer it with a side of rice and beans.

9. Rice and Beans with Stew Chicken or Beef

Belizean stew chicken or beef

While not fast food in the traditional sense, stew chicken or stew beef with Rice and Beans is a Belizean favourite that is served quickly at many local eateries. This dish combines coconut milk-infused rice and beans with tender, slow-cooked chicken or beef, often accompanied by a side of potato salad or coleslaw. It’s a filling, flavorful meal that is the national dish of Belize.

10. Chinese Fry Chicken

Chinese Fry Chicken

With a crispy exterior and tender inside, Belizean-style Chinese fried chicken has become an essential part of the fast-food landscape in Belize. It is loved by locals for its affordability and accessibility due to the ubiquitousness of Chinese restaurants. Fry chicken is typically accompanied with fries, sweet ketchup sauce, and hot sauce but some places offer an side option of fried rice or white bread.

How much does fast food cost in Belize?

Fast food in Belize is both affordable and filling, making it an excellent option for travelers on a budget or anyone interested in Belizean cuisine. Prices range from $1-$3 USD for items like garnaches, salbutes, panades, stuffed fry jack, tacos, burritos, and bollos/tamales while larger meals like Fry Chicken, BBQ, and Rice and Beans cost about $4-$8 USD, but still offer great value for the quantity and quality of food provided.



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