Are luxury and unique cuisine with roots in diverse places mutually exclusive? Not in Belize, where an amalgam of traditional foods is as compatible when served on china with cloth napkins as they are when served by street vendors. Here’s the difference: Upscale eateries tend to put exotic spins on these traditional dishes, which is why travelers are surprised to discover them on eatery menus that come with multiple-star reviews conferred by usually hard-to-please critics. What can you expect to find on the menus of high-profile resort eateries like the one gourmands flock to within the San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize? Haute cuisine, the likes of which you will find divine. Not all of these are on the estate’s Running W Restaurant menu, which is why you’ll want to keep coming back! Rice and beans. This Caribbean classic won’t taste a thing like the versions you find on menus throughout the hemisphere’s Spanish-speaking nations. Running W chefs elevate these staples to manna from heaven. Stewed chicken, served Belize style, puts other recipes to shame and this tasty stew is often paired with the rice and beans. Eat your fill. Then hit the San Ignacio tennis courts to re-build your appetite for your next feast. Chimole is also known as the black dinner because this chunky stew recipe is a shared legacy of Mexico and Maya cultures. Prepared with a traditional annatto seed paste, you’ll ask for seconds. Salbutes can be found on just about every menu because these tiny fried corn tortillas dressed in hot sauce-laced chicken, avocado, and cabbage trigger debates about who made this dish best. Feel free to recommend the salbutes prepared at Running W if you want to get into the good graces of the hotel’s hard-working chefs. Tamales by any other name would taste as yummy, but don’t expect your tastebuds to cozy up to a version that reminds you of this dish’s Mexican cousin because you find no family resemblance the moment you bite into the steamed cornmeal, meat and spices hidden inside tidy plantain leaves and cooked to perfection. Ceviche is prepared throughout the world by chefs who swear that their recipes are unique, but until you’ve lifted a spoon of this mix of freshly caught seafood elixir, you haven’t been properly introduced to ceviche, a side dish or main course that begs to be paired with an icy Belikin beer. Conchita Pibil has been called a gift from the Maya gods because indigenous people are responsible for introducing this classic dish, a slow-cooked, palate pleasing pork and vegetable combination served with soft tortillas that could make you wonder how this gifted culture could possibly have disappeared with food this divine. Fry jacks for breakfast? How about breakfast and lunch? Soft, pillowy tortillas play host to any number of diverse fillings that include beans, meat, cheese, or all of the above. Ask for seconds. And thirds. Like pancakes and waffles, there is no official number of fry jacks on record. Johnnycakes, a quick bread that owes its fan following to coconut, somehow find their way onto breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus since they’re just that popular. Think of these as an exotic alternative to ordinary toast, amenable to toppings that can be sweet or savory. Hudut and Sere will recall all the creole foods you have eaten over time since the recipe has Creole roots, but that’s where similarities end. This traditional Garifuna dish is usually accompanied by a creamy fish soup that never disappoints. Sound like heaven on earth? If you pride yourself on identifying the best dishes during your travels, staying at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel will not only give you access to the dishes on this list but it will sadly set you up for disappointment if you decide to dine anywhere else during your Belize vacation!