If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “So, like, what do you eat in Honduras?” after finding out where I live… I’d eat much differently than I do now, because I’d be rich.
It’s no secret that I LOVE FOOD. Not just a little. A LOT. I love to cook, I love to eat, and I love going out to restaurants. So I don’t really mind when people ask what I eat here, because I love to talk about food!
The bad news is though, it’s probably not nearly as exciting as you might think. Honduran cuisine is not exactly world-renowned. The food is pretty bland (although I have an allergy to peppers, so this doesn’t bother me!) and there’s a lot of white rice, white flour, deep frying, cheese, and meat. Especially living on a small island like I do, fresh vegetables are not always available, affordable, or any good.
Our grocery store – Eldon’s – is very American. I can get Kraft salad dressing, Hellman’s mayo, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, gluten-free flour and MorningStar vegetarian breakfast sausage…. it’s just like going to the store in Canada or the USA. There are also little fruit and veggie trucks that drive around (just pickup trucks with a canopy over the back and baskets of produce) and some little convenience stores here and there, but Eldon’s is where I do most of my grocery shopping. I cook a lot, but I also eat out quite a bit here. The restaurants can be pretty hit or miss, and affordable food that is actually good is hard to find.
So what do I usually eat here?
I’ll show you.
Yeah, so I didn’t cook this. This breakfast came from the employee kitchen at work. Our dive shop is attached to a resort, and most workplaces around here have a little caseta where a lady makes employee lunches. You get what she’s serving that day, no choices, it’s not a restaurant. Ours is awesome because we have breakfast AND lunch. This breakfast costs 35 lempira, which is about $1.50 US. This breakfast is a typical island breakfast and has refried beans, scrambled eggs, a fried piece of ham, a piece of queso (hard white cheese, kind of like feta) and what the islanders call ‘flitters’ which I think is an adaptation of fritters. It’s just deep fried flour dough.
Here are some other things that have come out of the employee kitchen:
Clockwise from top left we have stewed pork, black beans, white rice, cabbage slaw, boiled plantain; pastelitos (dough wrapped around ground beef and rice and then deep fried); stewed beef, rice and beans, potato salad; fried pork with pickled onions, cabbage slaw and plantain chips; and finally fried chicken, plantain chips, coleslaw, black beans and white rice with carrots. Actually the fried pork (bottom right) wasn’t from work, it was from some islanders who set up an outdoor kitchen on the street on Friday nights. That one cost 80 lempira ($4), the pastelitos were 25 lempira (about a dollar) and the other three are 60 lempira each ($3).
I don’t always eat at the employee kitchen, because as you can see I would soon become 700 pounds. They just make whatever is cheap and easy, nutrition is not a concern.
Almost every single night I have a salad for dinner. It’s hot here, I don’t want to cook, I’m tired from diving all day and don’t want to have to think about what to make. Having a salad every night makes it really easy.
Here are some of my salad creations (I try to change the toppings up every night):
I also try to batch cook once or twice a week to have a bunch of meals on hand for when I’m feeling lazy but don’t want to eat the unhealthy food from the employee kitchen. I always make a huge batch of soup every week. I know what you’re thinking… soup in the tropics? Well kids, I’m weird. I eat that shit cold. And I think it’s awesome.
Clockwise from top left: beef, tomato, chickpea and parsley soup served over crusty bread; next is purple cabbage slaw, stir fried kale, fried tofu with brown rice & beans; another soup – this one had pork, sweet potato, tomatoes, collard greens, purple cabbage and green onions; finally my ‘station’ where I made buddha bowls for an entire week with brown rice, fried tofu, steamed cauliflower/broccoli/brocciflower, beets, heats of palm, green onion, parsley, carrots, cucumber and green cabbage. Super healthy and I didn’t have to think about lunch for a week!
Sometimes I just make random food with whatever ingredients the grocery store has. I never know what will be in stock so I just have to go with it. I end up with some weird combinations sometimes…..
Clockwise from top left: lionfish ceviche, marinated mushrooms, tortilla chips, steamed cauliflower and broccoli; poached eggs with hollandaise sauce and purple basil, sauerkraut, cucumber and red onion quick pickles, avocado with lime juice and pepper; grilled cheese sandwich and Lays chips!; salad with saurkraut, a fried egg and baked beans; refried beans and fried eggs with chives.
Clockwise from top left: celery, carrots, purple cabbage, green onion marinated in sesame oil, apple cider vinegar and dill; fried egg with chives and parsley, sauteed mushrooms with parsley, beets and sauerkraut (do you sense the sauerkraut theme here? I eat it all day long.); broiled chicken with soy sauce and mushrooms, ramen noodles, cucumber and purple cabbage slaw…..and finally… my least favorite part – the DISHES!! I hate doing the dishes.
I don’t always cook! When I don’t:
Clockwise from top left: girls night at Fresh Bakery – I brought Funyuns and they were a hit, apparently; veggie roll and shrimp roll at Cafe Escondido, breakfast at Cafe Escondido; full English breakfast and an English roast dinner courtesy of the best next door neighbors ever!!
I just feel like a lot of the food here is hit or miss. Best and worst meals so far:
Worst – definitely the hot dog, cheese, ketchup & mustard ‘tacos’ courtesy of my roommate at the time… yikes.
Best – sesame crusted seared tuna with marinated veggies and rice. This cost me $20!! That’s almost my whole daily salary.
So I don’t really feel like what I eat in Honduras is all that different from what people eat in North America. I think it’s just less healthy and way fewer vegetables!
Do people have misconceptions about what you eat where you live??
Follow up: See PART II here!