Many often say that a nation’s cuisine is reflective of its culture, heritage and population, and Curacao is no exception. The cuisine of the island, a motley assortment of European, African and Caribbean influences, is equally as fascinating and rich as the people who inhabit it. While you may find yourself Curacao-bound for the world-class beaches, you may be surprised when you find yourself even more fond of the delectable food. Read on to learn about some Curacao food you absolutely must try when visiting!
Arepa di Pompuna
Like a pancake, but more dense and pumpkin flavored, arepa di pompuna is a Curacao staple. Eat this delicious arepa for breakfast or lunch, or whenever you’d like! Pro tip: grab your arepa di pompuna at the Marshe Bieu — the Old Market, located just 15 minutes from Hilton Curacao — for the ultimate authentic Curacao eating experience, where you’ll find yourself among the many locals waiting for their arepa too!
If the Puerto Ricans have Bacardí, Curocaoans have Blue Curacao Liqueur. Chances are you’ve already had this bright-blue spirit in a cocktail before, but there’s nothing like the authentic, real thing fresh made on the island. The liqueur is made of dried bitter citrus peels called Laraha, which are native to Curacao and only grow on the island. Impeccably made using traditional methodology, you can even sip on it straight, no cocktail needed!
Consider funchi the ultimate savory side piece to any traditional Curacao dish. Funchi, which is made of cornmeal and is deep fried, could be considered the Dutch Caribbean’s version of the traditional french fry. Dip it in sauces or eat it alongside your favorite dish – either way, you truly can’t go wrong.
Curacao is a Dutch island after all! Bitterballen, a traditional Dutch snack, are fried balls filled with everything from beef or veal to cheese and vegetables. Also fried and served with a dipping sauce (think: mustard), this delicacy is the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer on a hot sunny day!
Last, but certainly not least, is Keshi Yena, considered to be the island’s signature dish. Keshi Yena is a round ball of cheese — typically Gouda or Edam — filled with spiced meat, olives, raisins, capers and onions. The dish comes either baked or steamed. The origins of the dish can be traced as far back as the grim era of Dutch slavery, where slaves were often left with scraps of cheese rinds and filled with meat. Keshi Yena is an island specialty, and one that surely can’t be missed!