Food and Drink

Eating and drinking on Curaçao

Antillean cuisine is a melting pot of food cultures from the Caribbean, South America, Africa, some European countries and Asia. Each period in the history of Curaçao has left its mark in special dishes; from the occupation by the Spaniards, to the arrival of the Dutch and the African slaves. Curaçaoans take the time to cook quietly and eat with the whole family. On festive occasions, extra attention is paid to the meals; each celebration has its own characteristic dishes.

Famous Curacao dishes

Well-known Curaçao dishes are pastechi (Antillean pastry), Johnnycake (fried roll), sopi piska (fish soup), funchi (kind of corn polenta), ajaca (dish wrapped in banana leaves) and pan bati (corn pancake). Stews (stobá) are also very popular, they are prepared with beef, chicken, goat (kabritu), iguana or shellfish (karkó), and different kinds of vegetables. The fish for the piska ku funchi (fish with cornmeal) is caught fresh daily in the Caribbean Sea and is firm and flavorful. At many restaurants, local fish such as barracuda, wahoo and tuna are on the menu.

Dutch culture is reflected in the keshi yená, a hollowed-out Edam cheese filled with a spicy mixture of chicken or minced meat, various vegetables, capers, raisins, prunes, and olives. The cheese, after being soaked, is stripped of its wax coating, stuffed, and baked in the oven.

Are you in an adventurous mood? Then try the guiambo, (an okra soup with ingredients such as salted meat, pork tail, shrimp, fish and shellfish) or the sòpi mondongo (gut soup). The sòpi mondongo is traditionally eaten when there is a new roof on the house and is also really part of the Sunday meal.

Sweets and cakes

Antilleans are very fond of pastries and sweets such as bolo (cake) and tèrt. One of the most famous bolo on Curaçao is the bolo di manteka (butter cake), made of flour, sugar, butter and a relatively large amount of eggs. Tèrt can best be compared to Limburgse vlaai. However, the crust is drier and the filling is made differently. From ground peanuts they make S-shaped cookies, called lèter, on Curaçao.

Festive meals
Ayaca is eaten at Christmas and New Year. The banana leaves are filled with a layer of dough made of corn flour, salt, sugar, anise seed, grated cheese, butter and milk. The dough base is filled with chicken and pork, capers, raisins, prunes, olives, piccalilli, ham, almonds, celery, parsley, pickles and chilli. The complete package is boiled in water, then left to cool. Shortly before the meal, the dish is reheated briefly. At the end of holidays, or a large celebration such as a wedding, bags are often distributed containing sweets, confectionery and sweetened almonds.

Popular drinks
On Curaçao, there is always a reason for a party, where the drinks usually flow abundantly. By far the best known drink on the island is Polar beer, which officially comes from the United States, but is brewed in Venezuela. Other popular beers are Heineken and Amstel. In addition to beer, Antilleans like to drink spirits and cocktails in the most amazing colors and flavors. The blue liqueur made from the Laraha orange (Blue Curaçao) has given Curaçao enormous fame around the world and is still made locally, in Landhuis Chobolobo.

Finally, a word about dishes with iguana meat, such as the famous sopi iguana. The story goes that dishes with iguana meat have a potency enhancing effect, because the male iguana has two penises. This is one of the reasons why the animal has been hunted very intensively, causing the population to be greatly depleted. The iguana is now a protected species and may only be served by licensed restaurants. The vast majority of restaurants that have iguana meat on their menu do not have a license!