17:50 PM

Top 10 Must-Try Foods in Curacao

Lena Katz - onboard


Eating on Curacao can easily be a doorway to its unique and fascinating culture—one that you can experience at any price point, and in any part of the island. Just a few hundred feet from the cruise pier, you can find everything from island-style cheap eats to Dutch Colonial throwback restaurants to fresh seafood.

Curacao’s diverse, richly flavored culinary landscape encompasses traditional Dutch food, African heritage, Caribbean staples and East Indian influence — and has its own ethnic subcategory called kuminda krioyo. The latter is often the least expensive and served with the least fanfare, from the Old Market food stalls or the so-called “bread trucks” (food trucks often serving just a couple of items).

1. Stoba
This is a general menu description for “stew,” which has many similarities to island curry, including that it can be made with just about any sort of meat and veggie. Popular variations include beef stew (often made with papaya) and goat stew, which is likely fresher than beef as it’s made with island-raised goats. Everything from cucumber to cactus to pig tails might go into the pot.

Where to find it: Plasa Bieu, the Old Market, is a great place to look for all sorts of local stobas … including a couple you probably won’t be able to identify.

2. Blue Curacao Liqueur
Far more people in the United States are familiar with curacao the spirit than Curacao the island, since almost everyone has encountered it in a neon blue umbrella drink. But here’s a twist: True blue “curacao of Curacao” was, for a very long time, not distributed in the United States. The cloyingly sweet brilliant blue drink is actually an inferior version, made with artificial orange flavors instead of citrus peels as it is on the island.

There’s also a debate about who invented “real” curacao liquor: Senior Curacao on the island or another liquor distiller in Holland. On Curacao, the liqueur is taken seriously and not like some cheesy gimmick. The distillery flavors its blue and orange Curacao with laraha (an island-grown fruit) citrus peel. It is quality enough to be sipped, although it has certainly powered many an umbrella cocktail.

Where to find it: The factory in Willemstad is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Guided tours are offered four times a day starting at 10 a.m., but reservations are strongly recommended. Self-guided tours are also available.

Read the full post, originally published in October 2016, at onboard.com.