Belizean conch fritters at South LA’s Joan and Sisters Restaurant



Samuel Bevans, owner of Joan and Sisters | Logan Heley

Samuel Bevans, owner of Joan and Sisters | Logan Heley

At Joan and Sisters Restaurant in South L.A.’s unofficial “Little Belize” neighborhood, cooks serve up conch fritters, rice and beans — all typical foods of Belize that represent the Central American country’s wide-ranging ethnic influences.

Belizeans can be Black Creoles of slave descent, Hispanic Mestizos of Mayan and native descent, or Garifuna, a group whose ancestors are a mix of Carib Indians and West Africans arrived from wrecked Spanish slave ships in 1635. East Indians, Middle Easterners and East Asians have also made their way to country on the coast of the Caribbean.

Jerome Straughan, a Black Creole from Belize, moved to the U.S. in 1980. In his Ph.D. dissertation¬†about Belizeans in Los Angeles, he wrote that Belizeans can more easily interact with other ethnic groups in L.A. than in other places, because the city is so diverse. [Read more…]