There is no better way to get to know a culture than to enjoy its culinary environment. On Curaçao, our local cuisine was influenced by both the neighboring countries as the way people used to live back in the day. Some of the food has been modernized while some are still created according to traditional recipes. Nonetheless, all still have that local Caribbean flavor. Your stay on the island is not complete without experiencing our food. That’s why we present to you the 5 must-try Curaçao Local Food with recommendations on where to buy and enjoy the dishes.
Let’s start with breakfast. The most important meal of the day. Forget the yogurt and oatmeal, on Curaçao we always choose a very filling breakfast. One of our favorite breakfast items is pastechi. Pastechi is a patty that’s either filled with chicken, cheese, beef, codfish or tuna. The best moment to try pastechi is early in the morning when the patty is freshly made. The dough is still flaky and the inside nice and warm. It’s certainly a good way to start your day and definitely a must-try Curaçao local food.
Recommendation: If you want to taste a modern version of a pastechi than visit Kafé 5999. Their patties have very unique flavors, like cheeseburger flavor, vegan lentils, or scrambled eggs. If you want the authentic flavor, then make a pit stop at Beans in Pietermaai for some coffee and pastechi.
2. Bolo Pretu
Bolo Pretu, literally translated as black cake, is a premium cake that used to be served on at formal festivities like weddings, baptism, etc. However, lately, the cake has become more mainstream and can even be bought as a little souvenir to take home. The cake is made with a variety of dried fruits—like cherries, dates, and plums—sugar syrup, and tons of liqueur. The cake takes weeks to make but the unique taste makes it completely worth it.
Recommendation: The best way to get a piece of this cake is to buy the Bolo Pretu from Curaçao Delights. They are sold at various souvenir shops and even supermarkets. You can recognize it by the distinctive package in the form of a plantation house.
3. Red Snapper
With the sea so close to us, it’s no surprise that seafood is a huge part of Curaçao’s local food. The favorite dish by locals and visitors alike is red snapper with polenta. It’s a fried fish served with a creole sauce, firmly-cooked polenta, fried plantain, and green salad. It’s a hefty meal so don’t expect to have room for either an appetizer or dessert. However, if you truly want to experience Curaçao’s local food, then the red snapper is the closest you’ll get to the authentic flavors of the island.
Recommendation: There are many places to have red snapper, but not all are open at night. During lunch, you can enjoy this dish at Marshe Bieu in Punda or Purunchi near Otrobanda. De Visserij at Piscadera and Pop’s Place at Caracasbaai are both open during the day and night.