THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Traditional Bay Island cuisine centers around the obvious ingredient: seafood. The undisturbed reefs and endless waters provide the islands with a bounty of fish such as grouper, wahoo, snapper, and yellowtail, all cooked up in a variety of options. Fried chicken is equally as popular for lunch and dinner. The crispy dish is served along with Honduran staples like rice and beans, plus fried plantain chips. Main
chips. Mainland cuisine such as baleadas (tortillas with beans and cheese) is typically served at beachfront stands or in local dives, although they're not nearly as ubiquitous as on the coast. The Garífuna culture is strongest in Roatán, where residents munch on pan de coco (coconut bread) and dine on sopa marinera (breaded conch and seafood soup).
The most fascinating part of the islands' gastronomy, however, is the eclectic offering of international fare. As more foreign expats grow to call the Bay Islands home, more restaurants offering European, Asian, and Latin American delights are popping up. In Guanaja, there are velvety German sausages and roasted pork at a two-story bar-restaurant. Utila boasts eateries serving authentic Italian dinners, American-style brunches, spicy Indian curries, zesty Caribbean barbeque, and cheesy Mexican treats. In Roatán, there's incredible Thai food, Argentine steak joints, brick-oven pizzerias, and Memphis-inspired smokehouses. The wide variety of cuisines here is a tasty alternative to the ubiquitous seafood or heavier Honduran dishes of the mainland. Most international dishes will set you back around L200 to L300.
Travelers opting to stay in dive hotels (as in "diving") or all-inclusive resorts will have most meals provided as part of the package. In-house meals and buffets tend to serve underwhelming beef, chicken, fish, and pasta dishes, but with the generous portions you'll never be hungry. Fast-food restaurant chains such as Wendy's, Bojangles Chicken, and Pizza Hut have recently opened franchises in Roatán, and more are expected to go up as tourism expands. Shopping centers on the biggest island also feature supermarkets and sit-down restaurants.
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