Finding the Flavors of Curaçao
Jacob Dean, The Cook's Cook
The food on Curaçao is fresh, lively, and speaks to a deep and complicated history.
The veranda of Hofi Cas Cora, Curaçao’s first farm-to-table restaurant, looks out over the restaurant’s fields, but for the moment my eyes are drawn to a rather sizable lizard which has surreptitiously worked its way into part of the restaurant. It flits in and out of the shade, taking refuge first under a chair and then under an unoccupied table. As our server walks by, it jets back outside in search of something tasty.
Meanwhile my own food has arrived, a hash made from white sweet potato which is covered with a farm-fresh egg and tender, curling pea tendrils. Everything in the hash was grown or raised in the field I am surveying from my shaded seat. It is beautiful, simple, and delicious.
Since arriving on Curaçao I’ve felt like the lizard that captured my attention. I’ve sought relief from the dry, windy heat in the shade of enormous gnarled mesquite trees where I’ve eaten vegetable soup thickened with the pulp of cactus and served with bread baked in an outdoor oven made from bricks transported to the island by slave ships.
I’ve walked down the cobbled and paved streets of the capital of Willemstad to visit a floating vegetable market, where boats pull right up to the pavement in order to sell their wares. I’ve eaten conch while looking out over some of the cleanest, bluest oceans I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve walked across darkened moon-lit streets to eat Caribbean-inspired tapas, and to drink cocktails at Luke’s Cocktailbar where Luke, the bartender/owner, has just as much fun working as his customers have drinking.
Read the full post, originally published in December 2017, on The Cook's Cook.
Photo credit: Jai Williams