Local Food in Curaçao: A Culinary Walk Through Punda

Category: | Published on: September 20, 2018 | By Omaily Lucas

Curaçao is an island surrounded by clear turquoise-blue water, vibrant colorful houses, and a culinary scene to cater to all tastes. If you want to learn about the culture of Curaçao then experiencing the local food in Curaçao is the closest you will get to really knowing how the people on Curaçao live—what makes us smile and what fills our hearts with joy.

The historic downtown, Punda, is the perfect place to start your journey of discovering the many alluring sides of the island. It was also the perfect place for us to have our culinary walk and discovering the local food in Curaçao.

Local Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they say. Here in Curaçao, that saying is a life’s motto.  Every morning you’ll see people making their way to their favorite place to get a ‘pastechi’. A ‘pastechi’ is a typical local food in Curaçao. It’s a patty made with thick dough and different stuffing. Next to the big round market, Marshe Nobo, there’s a food truck with a flashy tropical-look that sells delightful patties. Take a seat on one of the benches close by to enjoy your ‘pastechi’ while you observe the passerby’s rushing towards work. But, if you want to have a seat somewhere to fuel your body before touring Punda then you must visit La Bohème.

One of the first things you’ll notice about our local cuisine is how diverse it is and infused with international flavors. At La Bohème, you can get a typical Venezuelan ‘arepa’, a popular dish from our neighboring country. We took a seat on one of their oaky tables in the brown-shade terrace with colorful flowers. We ordered a tasty arepa with a fruity Curaçao-style smoothie, batido. This was the perfect beginning to our culinary walk through Punda.

Local Morning Snack

Merchants from our neighboring country, Venezuela, have been coming to the island for more than 100 years to sell fruits, vegetables, fresh fish, and Venezuelan sweets at The Floating Market. Just looking at the merchants interact with their customer is an experience on its own, but nothing beats the taste of their delicious, colorful, tropical fruits. We chose a juicy mandarin to enjoy during our walk.

*Please note that the Floating Market has temporarily moved to the other side of the dock.

Local Lunch

On Curaçao, there’s no such thing as a “light lunch”. We have dinner during lunch time and at noon you will always see many lunch places getting filled with locals. We headed towards Plaza/Marshe Bieu (Old Market) to have a real local meal. The Plaza used to be located just a few minutes’ walk past the big round market, but since they’re renovating, it’s on the first floor of the big round market, Marshe Nobo (New Market). After walking past the different food stalls, we took a seat on one of the big long tables in front of one of the stalls. When we arrived, the place was very quiet, but in a blink of an eye, it was bustling with people chatting and laughing in this big hall with a stunning artistic wall. The menu was filled with local dishes, but we settle for the Stewed Goat. I’m sure whichever you choose, you won’t regret it.

Afternoon Drinks

A culinary walk through Punda isn’t complete if we don’t take time to sip on a tropical cocktail. The world famous Blue Curaçao is named after the island and is produced on the island as well by Senior & Co. Though there are many brands that produced the same liqueur, we couldn’t skip having a taste of Blue Curaçao while trying the local food in Curaçao. If you visit the area of Pietermaai that is just neighboring Punda, you’ll find different restaurants and bars that serve tropical-hued cocktails made with Senior’s Genuine Curaçao Liqueur. Along the Sint Anna Bay, you’ll find the iconic Handelskade with its tall and narrow buildings—and a keen resemblance to the charming canals of Amsterdam—washed in pretty pastel colors. In the pink building, you will soon be able to experience all the Genuine Curaçao Liqueur at the Blue Experience Café by Senior & Co. So, you get to soon enjoy your tropical cocktail while overlooking the beautiful Sint Anna Bay.

Our culinary walk through Punda made us discover the multicultural diversity and inclusiveness of the local cuisine of Curaçao. It also shows how important food is on the island. Like, why wait till night to have a decent meal when you have the whole day to do so? So, after enjoying all the local food in Curaçao we went for a light dinner to close the day.

Written by Omaily Lucas 

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