CuraÐ·aoâ€™s blend of ethnicities provides the island with a unique cuisine. Local food is generally heavy and hearty. Main dishes such as fried fish, stewed goat (kabritu), chicken and beef are served with beans and rice (aros moro), potatoes or funchi, a boiled cornmeal paste that resembles polenta. Mixed with beans and sugar, funchi becomes tutu.
Vegetables usually play a secondary role in traditional CuraÐ·ao cuisine. However, green papaya, local cucumbers (kÑ‚nkÑ‚mber) and cabbage are stewed with different kinds of beef. Okra (yambo) and cactus (kadushi) are made into slimy soups, definitely an acquired taste. Fried plantains are a popular side dish.
Snacks & bites
For late night takeout, local style, visit the roadside snack trucks (truk’i pan). If you just want a snack, grab a pastechi (fried meat pastry), lumpia (fried egg roll) or empanÐ± (fried cornmeal pastry filled with meat). Immigrant groups have brought their own culinary traditions. The Chinese influence with nasi goreng (bean sprouts sautÐ¹ed with chunks of meat and chicken), and Indonesian bami (long noodles with vegetables and meat) and satÐ¹ (skewered meat with peanut sauce) is everywhere. Also, be on the lookout for roadside BBQ-shacks offering succulent dishes in a rustic ambiance.
Natives take major holidays such as Christmas seriously, with a big emphasis on family and food. Traditional events include a true cornucopia of culinary delights. Christmas isnâ€™t complete without ayaka, a savoury meat tamale wrapped in banana leaves, originally from Venezuela. Another favorite is keshi yenÐ±, a stuffed cheese that is CuraÐ·ao’s most famous dish. Major extravaganzas, such as weddings, are not complete without bolo pretu, quite possibly the world’s best fruitcake. The dense, fragrant cake is cut into small individual squares and wrapped in foil for a take home remembrance.
For your sweet tooth
Locals love their sweets (kos dushi). Sugar, coconut and peanuts predominate in traditional sweets, which can be purchased on street corners in Punda, at bakeries and at tokos. Sunchi are meringue “kisses”, made of sugar and egg whites. Panseiku is a kind of praline, toasted peanuts and almond essence. The djente kachÑƒ (“dog’s tooth”) has thick, irregularly shaped chunks of coconut cooked in sugar syrup. Other favorites include colorful coconut sweet, kokada, milk-based ko’i lechi, tentalaria made of ground peanuts or cashews in a sugar cream, or zjozjolÐ½, chewy sesame seed bars.