Curacao: an Unexpected Gastronomical Paradise

Curacao is a tiny, Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela, forming a part of the “ABC” islands including Bonaire and Aruba. Due to the horrific damage caused by Hurricane Irma, my family and I diverted our plans to visit Grand Case, St. Martin, a French-Caribbean town known for its amazing food, and decided to visit the lesser-known island of Curacao. We went into the trip close-minded; we lowered the bar for pretty much everything, deciding that nothing could be better than the charming, French island we loved so much. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the unique and enchanting vibe of Curacao, and even more amazed by the food.

Curacao’s local food is vibrant, spicy, and delicious. The locals love fried whole fish and accompany every meal with either rice and beans, fries, or funchi (boiled polenta) along with plantains, and salad. Aside from the local food, there was an abundance of fancier restaurants that utilized the freshest ingredients found on the island, creating wonderfully delicious dishes. What I loved most about this island was the mixture of local and creative gastronomical restaurants. The quality of the food and the attention to detail at each and every restaurant, no matter what the price range was, was mind blowing and refreshing.  

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Fried snapper, creole sauce, rice and beans, and plantains Plaza Bieu: A sprawling open air lunch restaurant with several stands serving local cuisine
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Traditional Goat curry served with rice and beans from Plaza Bieu
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Fried Lionfish, rice and beans, salad and plantains from Pop’s place: a serene local place right on the beach
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My favorite dessert of the trip: Coconut pannacotta, passion fruit sauce, banana cake, and salted caramel ice cream from Kome: Modern American inspired cuisine using local, fresh ingredients
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Mussel pasta served with a curry tomato sauce from Rozendaels: Dutch and local creole fusion in a tropical garden setting.
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A lemon pie with passion fruit sauce, flan and pineapple cake from Rozendaels
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Local Curacaoan beef stew served with coleslaw, a polenta (Funchi) star, plantains and rice from Rozendaels
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Fillet of Scottish salmon served with lemon sauce, a balsamic glaze, and an herb cream from Rozendaels

 

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Prawn and scallops with pasta and a balsamic glaze from Fishalicious: A restaurant focusing on fish, both sourced locally and flown in from the Netherlands. 
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Seared Local Red snapper served with pureed sweet potatoes and sautéed butternut squash from Fishalicious
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Wahoo and watermelon ceviche with a basil vinaigrette from Fishalicious
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Tuna ceviche topped with a ginger sorbet and crunchy fried onions from Mosa: A small plates, tapas-inspired restaurant preparing local ingredients in an innovative way.
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Beet Hummus and a bean salad from Mosa
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Seared Wahoo (a local white fish found commonly throughout the island) from Mosa
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Truffle risotto from Mosa
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Chicken two ways, rice and beans, plantains, and fries served at Jaanchies: A cute little restaurant known for serving lizard stew, right near the northern coast.
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