Hudut in the City

Hudut in the City

Most might associate the traditional Garifuna dish of Hudut with Southern Belize… Dangriga and Hopkins to be more precise… and perhaps you wouldn’t be wrong; besides, it is what I think as well. For someone who grew up and lived in Dangriga most of my life, I have had the absolute pleasure of tasting what I believe to be some of the best tasting Hudut Belize has to offer. Some from restaurants and some from the kitchens of friends. After moving to the city for a few years now, I only get to have this delicacy once a year when heading to Griga (Dangriga) for 19th but lately, I just couldn’t wait for that trip. My tastebuds were craving Hudut. So… I asked on my Facebook page for suggestions on where in the city I could find something worthy for my tastebuds. No sooner had I posted the question did a friend hit me back with “Thelma’s Kitchen on Caesar Ridge Road, every Thursday” followed by another endorsement by another friend who said “And it is awesome.. oooiii!”. With answers like those, I had to try it! I whipped out my phone and made an appointment in my calendar: “Thursday, check out Hudut from Thelma’s Kitchen, Caesar Ridge Road.”

Thursday couldn’t come soon enough! I woke up that morning with a smile because Hudut was on the menu for lunch. My phone had a reminder to leave early from work to go find Thelma’s Kitchen because I wasn’t sure where on Ceasar Ridge road the restaurant was. Beep beep. There goes the reminder. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Peace out! I am off to get some lunch.

Thelma's KitchenFinding Thelma’s was easy. When going up Caesar Ridge Road, in the direction of going to Port, the restaurant is on the left, just after the park (which is on your right). Can’t miss the spot. Painted a bright green with red trimming and in bright yellow letters “Welcome to Thelma’s Kitchen”. You have two options… either order from the window outside for takeout, or go inside and up to the counter to order either for takeout or to have in the restaurant. I chose inside :).

It only took a few seconds to figure out who Thelma was because everyone was calling her name to get her attention. She is the one in charge, no doubt. She handles the money and serves as well. Be nice though, because she will put you in check if you raise your voice too much as one guy found out when hassling her with his order. I simply waited in line for my turn and watched as containers of Hudut were dished out, packaged and sold. And another, sold. And the next… and four more… and three more. A lady came in after me and must have known someone there because she got hers ahead of me. No worries though… I was next… and that is a huge pot, so… I am good. Panic quickly set in when I ordered and Ms. Themla looked at me with her old experienced eyes and said, “no mo no deh.” What?! No more?! No man! I been waiting all week for today. Patiently waited in line for 8 minutes while smelling all this goodness… it can’t be done. I had to flash my smile and chat up Ms. Thelma, letting her know her place was highly recommended and so I just had to try this Hudut. I told her, scrape the pot, I don’t care, but Hudut I must have. Maybe it was my soothing voice or the smiles I gave her, but there was one serving left that seemed to have been put aside for someone else. She asked out loud, “who dis fa?!” Nobody answered… SOLD! I got my Hudut!

I went to a table, sat down and open the container. Oh the aroma! Mmmm. I poured the lasus (soup) along with a nice piece of king fish and pieces of okra into a big bowl, quickly opened the container that had the hudut (beaten plantain) to scoop up some and put in the bowl. (Side note. Hudut is actually the beaten plantain and the soup is called lasus or sere lasus. The entire dish is also called hudut). Snap, snap.. couple pics for later… and with mouth watering, brought my first spoonful to my lips. Tastebuds lit up! My brain translating all this taste… taste so wonderful it triggered memories and in an instant, I was back in my friends kitchen, enjoying some home made Hudut. With eyes closed, I savored the taste of coconut milk in the sere and swallowed with a distinct sound of mmmm. Up came another spoonful, this time with hudut and with my other hand, I picked off a piece of fry fish. Fish first, followed by spoonful of amazingness and again… I pause as tastes run about my mouth and I can feel the distinct sensation of home. Mmmmm. and… repeat.

I thoroughly enjoyed that Hudut, even tilted the bowl to get the last of the lasus. Sometime during the eating, I had ditched all etiquette and was licking my fingers, making sure i had gotten all of the plantain. I leaned back into my chair and exhaled with satisfaction. I had calmed my cravings and pleased my tastebuds with what has got to be, the best tasting hudut in the City.

See you soon Thelma, see you soon.

PRO TIP:

  1. Order ahead AND, go early to pick it up. 11:30 if you can. Do NOT expect to go 12:00 and get Hudut.
  2. Eat in, don’t take out. The restaurant has a life of its own. It is great to sit, eat and watch.
  3. The order of Hudut came with Pig Tail; so, if you don’t eat pork or fancy it, make sure when you order to tell them NOT to add the pig tail.
  4. When eating in, go up to the counter and order. Don’t wait to be served because you might miss out on the food when it is all gone.
  5. Order a fresh juice and get a small because the large is just that.. LARGE.
  6. Tell Thelma you enjoyed her food, she will appreciate it and yes, you can call her Thelma, everyone else does.
  7. Thelma’s Kitchen does Boil Up on Fridays.

RESTAURANT: Thelma’s Kitchen
CONTACT: 207-0340
LOCATION: Caesar Ridge Road, Belize City

REFERENCES:
  1. Want to know more about Hudut and how it is made? Check out this article: How to make Hudut

post by: JC Cuellar

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Spoonaz Smoked Ribs

Spoonaz Smoked Ribs

Holy Buckets! This is nom nom nom nom (wipes sauce from corner of mouth), nom nom nom.

Spoonaz Facebook page has been taunting me for weeks! Weeks I tell you! Every time they posts that they are doing smoked ribs and that it sells out. I hear friends talking about it and every week, something keeps coming up that prevents me from making that visit to this lovely photo cafe bar & bar. Finally I clear my schedule for a Saturday, double check that smoked ribs are on the menu for the day and immediately I feel the grumbling wants from my tummy.

Spoonaz Photo & Cafe and Bar is located on North Front Street in Belize City and their deck overlooks the historical Haulover Creek. Their Facebook page describes themselves as “A place for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the warmth of Belizean hospitality.” The “chef” responsible for their smoked ribs is no other than Jeremy Spooner who some may know as “da white man weh tek picha”. Jeremy has been taking photos for years in Belize from the 1hr Mini Lab and I am not sure how framing shots spilled over to tinkering around in the kitchen but I am most certainly glad it did. After a complete overhaul of the 1hr mini lab, The Photo Cafe & Bar was born. The cafe is a delightful getaway from the bustle of North Front street and their menu has a simple yet tasty range of food, from meat pies to home made quiche (oh, believe me, that quiche deserves its own blog post). Love coffee? Then stop in and pick up a hot cup, always served fresh. They have a great bean selection, both local and abroad, to satisfy everyone’s taste. Not feeling for coffee but prefer a cold Belikin Beer? That is fine too because they serve up the entire line of beers from Belikin.

While I have dropped by on many occasions to grab some grub and a hot cup of coffee, my agenda for Saturday was strictly for their smoked ribs. After much testing and experimenting, Jeremy has perfected the seasoning and smoking of the ribs. They are served up with red kidney beans cooked with pigtail to give that signature Belizean taste along with cole slaw and a big fresh flour tortilla. While the trimmings on this plate were tasty, I was all about making sure I got full off of ribs. Before I could even indulge in the taste, the aroma kicked my hunger into high gear as the smokey smell of the ribs rose up from my plate. The meat was so tender and I didn’t have to fight with the bone to get off the meat because the meat just slipped right off. I have no clue where Spoonaz gets his ribs but they are meaty! Sure there is some fat but only enough to lend itself to the taste. His seasoning or rub has the perfect balance of heat. I am not much for pepper and found the heat level on the ribs just right to give that sensation on your tongue and lips. There is a pepper sauce on the table if you need to amp up the heat but I thought that would mess with the taste profile of the ribs. The smokey taste is just so right. Jeremy keeps them in the smoker for hours to give them that signature taste that everyone buzzes about.

Wait, what?! Ribs again this Saturday! (October 17th, 2015). Oh yeah!

PRO TIP:

  1. Stalk out their Facebook Page for updates on their menu and when they are doing their ribs and then email them to reserve your order.
  2. Don’t get takeout. Go to the back on the deck and get a seat overlooking Haulover Creek to take in the view and cool breeze.
  3. If you see Jeremy, chat with him. He is always up for a good conversation about anything, food, politics, photography 😉

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RESTAURANT: Spoonaz Cafe and Photo Bar
CONTACT: 223-1043
LOCATION: 89 North Front Street

post by: JC Cuellar

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