arifuna Living Foods Restaurants in Roatan Honduras Fresh Caribbean Seafood and Soups
Punta Gorda, Roatan IB3100 Honduras+504 8878-0602
On the Island of Roatan to talk with several community leaders about a Boston- Roatan Educational partnership the black Coral Investigative team was surprised at the varied hidden gems the Island held. Hands down the Best restaurant on Roatan is Garifuna living foods it has been under the same family ownership for 45 years and the food is cooked in the traditional Garifuna way with all fresh ingredients and locally sourced foods from the shrimp and lobster or red snapper to the plantains, breadfruit and papaya! The Garifuna people trace their ancestry to the West African and indigenous Caribbean people, the Arawak. Around 1798 part of the Garifuna population was exiled to the Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. From Roatan, the Garifuna migrated to the mainland of Honduras and settled all along the Caribbean coast of Belize (then British Honduras), Guatemala and Nicaragua, and as far as Panama. They travelled by dugout canoe, carrying their food of cassava, plantain and sugarcane on this incredible journey. According to legend, the first Garifuna people arrived in Belize on November 19, 1802. The Logo of the restaurant has the colors of the Garifuna White, Yellow and Black..
For true foodies there is no other place to begin your culinary excursion into Garifuna fare than the tropical rustic paradise of East Roatan. Specifically Punta Gorda’s famous restaurant Garifuna Living Foods to experience the machuca, a coconut based seafood soup with mashed plantain. It is to die for. You need some time to eat here, as it takes a little time to prepare machuca which they do fresh on order. The old world rustic ambiance of the place is very relaxing and you eat seaside with warm ocean breezes and Garifuna music as your appetizer,, so if that's a bad thing, you may want to skip this place. But the food is the real experience not a packaged facsimile. We literally watched a fishermen go into the ocean to catch some ingredients while we were there. The average price of an entree' was $25 but well worth it when you consider the taste experience and the price for lobster in New England is usually around $50.00 for a comparable serving.
The village of Punta Gorda is filled with a unique culture it's music and mixture of Arawak and West African Color cannot be duplicated these people are truly a national treasure and the food expresses that purely with the vibrance and love of the people imbued in every bite. We were all served with a smile. The Garifunas are descendants of West Africa and the first peoples of the Caribbean and have maintained their language and traditions here on Roatan. We were greeted by children who were rushing to a rowboat to fish with a string and baited hook and surprisingly while we were there we watched them bring in a fish. The owner a smiling portly woman recommended the machuca, which most visitors come there for. They offered us a seat at a table in the cabana that was situated out over the ocean and all members of the Black Coral team were in awe of the natural beauty of the spot, this felt like a surreal Bond moment so we looked at the wine and spirits menu to consider something shaken or stirred. Punta Gorda is the most unique spot to have lunch on the island.. The soup, machuca, has a rich coconut base filled with fish, lobster, shrimp, crab and conch. It's also served with mashed plantains which you mix together in the soup. It was fantastic. As good as it was, the serving was far too much as we bought two plates and extra rice and beans on the side and all were full after we ate. After a few lemonade and beers we left at around $80 for four people.
The Garifuna themselves are a blend of Arawak Natives and West Africans originating from St Vincent and nearby smaller islands. The Garifunas maintain a deep warrior spirit and like to tell the tale of a slave ship, or two, that ran aground on St Vincent in the 1600's.after an uprising at sea all the Africans on board made it to shore and were taken in by the Arawak natives (also known as the Caribs) who had dealt with their own trials of atrocities at the hands of the Europeans, where they intermarried to eventually become the Garifuna. This story, as told by African survivors who made it to the island is strikingly different and makes a lot more sense to me than a tale of British sailors who accidentally hit the Island and decided to free their cargo of slaves instead of finding another way to take their stolen human traffic cargo to enslavement somewhere in the "New World". an uprising in which the ancestors of the Garifuna took control of the ships but didn't know how to sail them, so they ran aground makes more sense. In any case for a day of fun, food, music, ocean views, and thrilling tales of Garifuna heroics visit Garifuna Living Restaurant.