My husband and I have just spent a little over two weeks in Placencia and it was a culinary dream come true. I did most of the cooking myself because the ingredients were so good, so accessible, so cheap...and I had a kitchen in the apartment. (And I enjoyed learning to use ingredients like Red Recado and coconut milk.) Since there was nothing on the boards here about Placencia I thought I'd offer my 2 cents for future travelers:
-there are about 6 grocery stores in town. Most carry the same thing at around the same prices. There is Wallens and the rest are Chinese-owned stores which typically have less variety, slightly higher prices, and are definitely less friendly.
-there are a couple of street vendors for produce but the one that stands out is Greg's truck parked by the soccer field. He is there almost every day but I think takes Tuesday and Wednesday off. He has great meats (tasty pork chops) and wonderful no-label orange juice. If you don't see it, ask for it. He has a big cooler on board with everything from sour cream to chocolate. Definitely great produce.
-the co-op at the end of the sidewalk has lobster and conch, and if Kevin is cutting fish on the pier, buy from him! He's there every or every other evening unless the weather has been consistently bad. He catches whatever is on his hook so on any given day you could have tuna, mackerel, jack, grouper, snapper, king fish, etc. And he will prepare it however you want it prepared. Sometimes there is a wait if there are chefs or locals buying a lot of fish, but it's worth the wait (and who's in a hurry here anyway?!)
-buy your tortillas from David's tortilla factory, behind Omar's on the main road. He is also a good source for produce. Far superior to the tortillas you get at the grocery stores, ask him when he's making them so you can be sure you get them hot!
-Omar's for breakfast. Have the lobster fryjacks and a fresh squeezed orange/lime juice.
-Omar's for lunch or dinner. Have whatever he wants you to have. He dives for his own lobster and buys fish from Kevin so if he greets you upon your arrival and suggests something, get it! Cheap, fresh, and a fun place to sit outside and watch the street. Good Creole Grub.
-La Dolce Vita for dinner. Why have Italian food in Belize? Because it's THAT GOOD! The chef is Roman and imports most of his ingredients, except for the bacon which he smokes himself. He is a perfectionist. The food is affordable at $15US/entree and phenomenal. Many of my trips to Italy haven't produced a more enjoyable pasta meal than Simone makes in Placencia. Strongly recommend the Spaghetti Carbonara and the My 4 Fromaggi.
-Belgian Cafe for a cream puff. Skip the waffles, she doesn't import the sugar and if you've ever had a waffle in Belgium you will be sorely disappointed in hers, but the $2.50US cream puff is worth the stop.
-Taco stand on the road behind the soccer field. (Near the other smaller field, across from the BTL). There is a Mayan woman that has an un-signed place with a tarp awning and a grill. Good tacos! $0.50US/ea.
-Tutti Frutti gelato. No review necessary, just go!
There are plenty of other options for food in Placencia and I'm hopeful that other visitors and locals will use this thread to post their recommendations. These are just a few of mine. Happy eating!
Yeah, we stayed on Ambergris for 9 days. Had high hopes for Capricorn (was supposed to be a highlight of our trip), but to us, it fell short (maybe the new, non-Belizean owners had something to do with it?).
Good roadside BBQ, Celi Deli meatpies, fresh, streetmade tortillas and pupusas were all hits, yet food seemed to take a backseat on that trip (which is unusual for us). Don't get me wrong, I liked Belize enough to want to return, just my food expectations will be, ahhh, lower.
We made a pilgrimage to Marie Sharp's hot sauce factory (the Mrs was in Dangriga). Ate cow foot soup from a street vendor in San Ignacio (delicious) and red ants on a jungle trail (taste like carrots). Other than that, it was plenty of rice and beans...somtimes changed up a bit with beans and rice :-)
Wow. You mention pork chops (chuletas) and red recado (achiote), very traditional Mayan/ Yucatec items, where english is a relatively new language. Plus coconut milk, integral to Garifuna cooking and its influence in Belize. All of which is disappearing from the "Mexican Riviera" portion of the Yucatan, the tourist zoo from Cancun to Tulum.
Placencia is being developed as an American ex-pat community. I hope Belize doesn't surrender its Yucatecan heritage as Mexico did, but with what I know about the Belizean government, get it while you can. Belize is a wonderland of nature and great food, and arguably offers some of the best diving in the world as it shares a very tense relationship with its neighbor, Guatemala.