While cuisine in the Bay Islands may be historically centered around seafood (after all, we do live on islands surrounded by ocean!), there is also an incredible blend of other options available throughout the islands. One of the most prominent influences is from the Honduran mainland, which is why you may be asking, "What are baleadas?"
Baleadas are on the menu for all street vendors throughout Honduras. Essentially the Honduran version of a soft taco, baleadas are cheap, filling, and can be customized to your preferences.
In the Bay Islands, you'll find ample opportunity to try baleadas during your visit. Most restaurants serving local fare will offer some form of baleada, while street vendors will specialize in offering you various types of baleada. Watch for pop-up street vendors at night especially, as baleadas are a popular late-night snack after having a few beverages.
So, What are Baleadas?
Baleadas are made from a homemade flour tortilla pounded down by hand when it's time to put together your baleada. A baleada sencilla (simple baleada) is the common form, which contains only refried beans, soft white cheese, and a butter/sour cream called crema or mantequilla. These basic ingredients are layered into your warmed up flour tortilla, which is then folded over for your eating convenience.
If you're craving more than just a baleada sencilla, have no fear, there are many more options available to you!
Common additional ingredients to put into your baleada include shredded chicken, avocado, bacon, chorizo, scrambled eggs, or even steak. You'll also notice most vendors offer a variety of hot sauces as well as pickled onions - both of which can spice up your baleada with more flavor.
Breakfast baleadas are as popular as the late-night snack variety, and you'll often see divers grabbing one or two in between afternoon dives to tide them over until they have time for a bigger meal at the end of the day.
While baleadas may not be originally from the Bay Islands, as part of Honduras, these islands have accepted and embraced them into everyday life.
A word to the wise
While it may look easy to make a flour tortilla and to pound it down by hand, you'd be surprised at the level of mess this skill can make! If you can learn to make baleadas while in the Bay Islands, it's a great way to bring a bit of Honduras home with you. But without a proper tutorial while in Honduras will more likely leave you with flour all over your kitchen and a lumpy tortilla attempt on your plate. Making good baleadas is an art, so take advantage while you're in the Bay Islands and be sure to try one - or several - during your visit.