I spent much of my week in Belize feeling various states of queasiness, an extended gut-sickness that culminated in me carrying a baggie of my own vomit through customs in Houston.
Which is to say that I don't have especially fond memories of the cuisine of the tiny Central American nation best known for bungling a murder investigation involving software guru John McAfee. But Love Belizean, a 3-month-old cart on Southwest 6th Avenue, makes me forget all that. This cart's food is as good as the best of Belize—and further benefits from Portland's advanced water-treatment system.
The menu is simple: a box of stewed chicken with rice and beans and salad ($6). The menu is rounded out by a version with double chicken ($8) and pineapple upside-down cake ($1.50). Considering Belizeans distinguish between dishes called "rice and beans" and "beans and rice," this is as much diversity as should be expected.
But the chicken, stewed and roasted until its skin is black and its flesh is moist and peppery, pairs very well with dirty rice that tastes strongly of coconut milk. The cart carries the full line of Marie Sharp's hot sauces, considered a national treasure—go with the original hot, which has a fruity sweetness with its habanero heat.
And get the cake,
which uses traditional canned fruit but has a wonderfully moist crumb and a crispy, crackly bottom that's a joy to fork.
- Order this: The only thing you can order, chicken and rice ($6) with pineapple upside-down cake ($1.50).
EAT: Love Belizean, corner of Southwest 6th Avenue and Columbia Street, 752-7333, facebook.com/LoveBelizean. Monday-Saturday 11 am-6 pm. $.