Mi Bella Honduras, Federal Way WA

Honduran cuisine has been a kind of fixation for me since a visit to the country many years ago, when I enjoyed Garifuna-style seafood soup; top-flight pupusas; and baleadas, which are similar to quesadillas, but typically made with a local variety of red beans and crema (the latter best enjoyed when purchased from a stall just outside of the loading zone of the Roatan airport). Only once have I since tried Honduran food, from a disappointing venture in central New Jersey.

We tried for all of these benchmark dishes at Mi Bella Honduras, a strip-mall joint on Pac. Highway South. Upon entry, one gets the impression the intended atmosphere is a sort of tropical sports bar, the walls decked with fishnets and mermaids and shells; there is also a counter selling Honduran pantry items, tourist trinkets and marijuana-themed bandanas (why not?)

The menu (pictured) is fairly extensive. After lodging our order, I was becalmed by the audible slapping of hecho a mano baleadas and pupusas being welded together. The pupusas proved to be of high quality, served, as standard, with a mellow cabbage curtido, as well as a very nice houemade encurtido de cebolla. The baleadas sencillas were also quickly devoured, though I am not sure they can match the memory of those from RTB. We also tried machuca garifuna, a rustic soup of mixed seafood and coconut milk poured over mashed green plantain, which dish was hearty if unexpectedly bland; some lashings of chile sauce helped it come together. The taste of Salva Vida beer made me reminisce over the happy holiday fading into the past.

If in the vicinity I would definitely return to Mi Bella. The happy hour deal on baleadas seems to be a good bet for a first-timer.

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That’s very interesting. I don’t have experience with Honduran cuisine since I was only there for 2-3 hours (Copan) and the town was pretty dead that day. This menu seems like its more focused on coastal Honduran food, with a little bit of rest of the country mixed in, like pupusa. Wonder where the chef/ owner was from?

Where in Honduras did you go? How was the food there? I asked because I spent some time with their neighbors in Guatemala. So I am curious about the Honduran food and the differences.

While I don’t know for sure, I would bet that the owner(s) are from coastal Honduras rather than the interior, with the menu’s focus on seafood, inclusion of the Garifuna dish.

I travelled around a bit in Honduras, from Tegucigalpa, to Copan, to Tela to Roatan. The best meal I had was at a Garifuna beach shack near Punta Izopo National Park - a wonderful fresh-tasting sopa marinera. Also great were pupusas from a specialized place in Copan. Much of the other stuff was not memorable, especially in Roatan, which caters heavily to tourists. There were the baleadas from the aiport, however.

The odd thing when I was at Copan the town was that everything seemed to be closed. The town was just completely dead with barely anyone on the streets. I didn’t find anything to eat while I was there.