Local food in Curacao is called Krioyo (pronounced criollo) and is best compared to Caribbean cuisine and Latin American cuisine. The same dishes can be found in Aruba and Bonaire as well. Some of the most popular dishes are stoba (a stew made with various ingredients such as papaya, beef or goat meal), Guiambo (soup made from okra and seafood), Kadushi (cactus soup) and Sopi mondongo (intestine soup).
When you consider your dining options, you should keep in mind your plans and your vacation itinerary. If you will be very active during your trip, you can opt for quick and inexpressive meals. Families may opt for pizza or other foods that can be enjoyed by adults and children as well. Couples looking for a quiet dinner with a romantic ambiance might opt to enjoy a bottle of wine at one of the island’s nicer establishments.
The Curacao cuisine is a blend of Portuguese, Dutch and Caribbean flavors, very tasteful, with hints from other international fare mixed, such as Indian and Indonesian. Here are some dishes that you must-try while on Curacao:
Keshi Yena, very popular in Aruba and Curacao is a local dish of cheese stuffed with meat. Yes, you read that right, cheese stuffed with meat, not meat stuffed with cheese. The meat is usually spiced chicken, olives, tomatoes, capers and onion. Created by slaves that lived on the island during the Dutch colonization. The owners of the plantations would eat the cheese from inside out and throw the wheel to the slaves. They would take it, peel the wax and soak the remaining cheese to soften it up. The rinds filled with leftover meat was baked until melted and so Keshi Yena was created, a delicious dish served all over the island in our days.
Iguana is not just an animal in Curacao, is actually a very popular food eaten in a stew as Yuana Stoba or cooked with sauce and served on a plate to be eaten with your hands, like chicken wings. It is believed that the iguana meat will make you strong and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Okra Soup also known as Jambo or Guiambo, this soup is made of green okra vegetable, boiled and mixed with fish and salted meat. Being compared with American gumbo, this dish is one of the favorites of many locals. Another soup in Curacao is Kadushi, a soup made from kadushi cactus, somehow slimy and goofy.
Red Snapper is one of the most eaten fish, brought in by locals but also by Venezuelan fishermen who travel with their catch from the mainland to Curacao, and sell it in the city.
Conch is a sea snail which grows and lives in a huge beautiful shell used by some cultures as blowing horns instruments. The conch can be eaten cooked or raw. However, the favorite way to cook the conch is with lots of oil, garlic and butter.
Vegetables and fruits come to Curacao from Venezuela and other countries situated nearby. The best thing that you can do is to visit the local shops at the floating market in Willemstad where you can buy vegetables and fruits right off the boats that have just arrived from Venezuela with fresh food.
Blue Curacao is a liquor made from laraha, a fruit with a wonderful story. When the Spanish came to Curacao, they brought the Valencia orange in hopes that they can cultivate. But the orange didn’t adapt very well and the result was a very bitter fruit, named laraha. There was no hope to use the fruit for anything at the beginning, but later the locals discovered that when dries, the peel of laraha has a nice fragrance and from there the oils were used to create the drink known now as Blue Curacao.
Batido is a fruit smoothie made of the tastiest fruits like passion fruit, papaya, watermelon, guava, strawberry and mispel. It’s perfect for breakfast or to cool of on a hot day.
If you don’t like to try new dishes, don’t worry, you can find a lot of “American” type of foods as well. Yet, remember that you are traveling, and the best part of traveling is to discover and try new different things from as many cultures as you can.