As the seasons change, so do the fishing laws for catching and consuming seafood such as the queen conch, spiny lobster and grouper. In Belize, the Sea to Table terminology and movement is not a marketing tool, but simply a way of life. Here, the seafood ‘brand’ is the Barrier Reef and its produce comes to you without a bar code, guaranteed to be wild caught and fresh, as there is simply no other option! Home cooks, chefs and restaurants have the unique opportunity to truthfully advertise ‘catch of the day’ and ‘seasonal’ on their menus. Servers unapologetically tell a guest “sorry, we don’t have this menu option today” because it either didn’t come in that morning or it is currently out of season.
For some it may be hard to adapt to the ‘go slow’ pace of life and commerce in Belize. The longing for the luxury of online purchasing where one can order conch, for example, and have it delivered to your door packed in a can (yes canned), stamped with a brand & bar code, vacuumed sealed, frozen and preserved with sodium & dry ice can be great.
Of the Sea
In Belize, however, our luxury comes from the fact that the sea dictates the offering on the table. In fact, purchasing fresh seafood direct from the fisherperson is a common commodity. Even those that don’t live in coastal areas and islands need only make a short trip to the nearest market to get a fresh catch.