Top 10 Foods You Must Try in Aruba

Aruba has delicious culinary influences in its traditional dishes, and their histories span the globe. The flavors of more than 90 nations can be found in Aruban recipes!

 

The island’s first inhabitants were Caquetio Indians from the Arawak tribe, and they ate corn, sweet potatoes, manioc, yucca, cactus fruits and lots of fresh seafood. The Spanish claimed Aruba in 1499, and they brought their delicious dining influences, plus their tapas tradition of bite-size morsels enjoyed with wine like olives, fried octopus, spicy sausage and cheeses. The Dutch West India Company occupied Aruba starting in 1636, and the British were there briefly during the Napoleonic Wars, from 1799-1802 and 1804-1816. Add in Asian and Caribbean flavors, and you have a banquet of intriguing dishes to try during your visit to Aruba.

 

1. One of the most popular Dutch dishes is Poffertjes, which are mini puffed pancake/donut confections. They’re made with buckwheat flour and yeast and have a light and spongy texture. The sweet treats are usually served with powdered sugar and butter.

 

2. Pastechi is the snack of choice among Arubans, and usually once visitors try them they’re addicted! The half-moon shaped fried pastries can be filled with meat, cheese, seafood and more.

 

3. Funchi is a corn dish recognizable to fans of Spanish polenta and southern American grits. It’s often topped with cheese, creamy butter or mojo isleno, which is fish with onion and pepper sauce.

 

4. Pan Bati means “smashed bread”, and it’s another pancake-like dish, although it doesn’t contain eggs or fat. This flatbread is served on the side with soups and stews.

 

5. Stoba is a kind of stew, and it can contain cabbage, conch, lobster, pork, fish, chicken, goat and more. Stoba foundations are delicious blends of onion, pepper, peas, beans, tomato, garlic, cumin, nutmeg, potatoes, soy sauce and other tasty ingredients.

 

6. Cheese fans will rave over Keshi Yena, another Dutch dish. They take Gouda or Edam cheese and stuff it with spicy meat, prunes, raisins, nuts and other delectable tidbits, then serve it with a tomato, garlic and basil sauce.

 

7. Fried Plantains are popular throughout the Caribbean, and they’re featured on plenty of Aruban menus. These meaty banana-like fruits lend themselves well to being fried to caramelized, crispy, golden perfection.

 

8. Another type of stew is Keri Keri, which is made with white fish, tomatoes, bell peppers, basil and a local spice called annatto, which is made from the seeds of the achiote tree and gives foods a pleasant orange-red color.

 

9. Ready for dessert? Bolo Borracho translates to Tipsy Rum Cake, and it’s made with plenty of white rum and whipped cream.

 

10. Another Spanish influence is evident in Kesio, which is a caramel crème custard similar to flan.

Fried_Plantains – photo credit Charles Haynes

 

Poffertjes – photo credit Illustratedjc

 

Pastechi – photo credit Julio Sifontes