Culinary Styles

Photo credit: © Rui Dias Aidos |

Curaçao's diverse culture and eclectic cuisine reflect the different backgrounds and nationalities of its inhabitants. Food plays a major part in the heritage of the local people, and the island's dishes are as diverse as this population of 45 different nationalities. Vacationers can enjoy a wide range of international foods while experiencing this unique Dutch Caribbean culture.

...local favorites is iguana stew...


The island and its cuisine are predominately influenced by Dutch culture. The Dutch people use a lot of fresh seafood and cheeses in their traditional dishes. Island locals have taken this cuisine and combined it with several other styles of cooking to make a food culture all their own. Curaçao's authentic meals are a blend of Dutch, Creole, and other international foods, mixed together with a touch of local flavor. Some of the most delicious local entrees include Funchi, or half and half, which is a polenta-like side dish made of half cornmeal pudding and half rice; Pika Hasa, a yummy Curaçaon seafood dish of red snapper, which is often considered to be the national dish of the island; and a Dutch national dish called Keshi Yena, which is a savory meal of Gouda cheese stuffed with meat or fish. One of the local favorites is iguana stew, which may not tickle the taste buds of some tourists, but is said to taste like chicken if you're brave enough to try it.

Indonesian culture has also influenced the cuisine of Curaçao. Islanders have taken this influence and combined it with Dutch cuisine, making for some unique and tasty fare. One of the most simple and popular Indonesian meals that has been adopted by Curaçaons is rijisttafel, which means "rice table." Rice is combined with fish or meat and vegetables, along with a kick from a spicy sauce made of fresh chilies. While visiting Curaçao, vacationers can also sample French, Italian, Indian, and Swiss dishes at gourmet restaurants located around the island. The culinary choices seem endless.

With more than 50 nationalities represented in Curaçao, many more types of cuisine have made their mark at one time or another.  Aside from those well-known dishes listed above, there are a few others that vacationers can expect to come across, with influences ranging from Spanish to Japanese.

  • Aros Moro - fried fish, chicken, beef, peas and rice;
  • Ayaka - meat tamales wrapped in banana leaves;
  • Bami - vegetables and meat over long noodles;
  • Bolo Pretu - black fruit cake;
  • Empana - cornmeal pastry filled with meat;
  • Erwten soup - thick soup of peas, ham, pork, and sausage;
  • Kabritu - stewed goat;
  • Kadushi - cactus soup;
  • Kokada - coconut patties;
  • Konkomber - stewed corned beef, cucumbers, green papaya, and cabbage;
  • Lumpia - fried vegetable or meat filled roll;
  • Nasi Goreng - meat and chicken sautéed with bean sprouts;
  • Panseiku - roasted peanuts, pralines, and almond essence;
  • Pastechi - fried meat in a pastry
  • Sate - skewered meat doused in peanut sauce;
  • Stoba - papaya and beef soup;
  • Sopi Mondongo - intestine soup;
  • Sult - pickled pig's ears and feat; 
  • Sunchi - meringue;
  • Zjozjoli - sesame seed bars.

Curaçao Liqueur is another popular island treat.  The libation was discovered by accident, but happily, people all over the world enjoy this beverage made from the peels of the bitter Lahara orange. Spaniards had brought juicy sweet Valencia oranges to the island, but the fruit was unable to flourish because of the differences in climate. This difference changed the flavor of the citrus, transforming the sweet Valencia orange into the sour Lahara orange. Decades later, it was discovered that the peel of Lahara oranges contains sweet-smelling oils that could be used to make the Curaçao Liqueur. The oils were combined with exotic spices, which resulted in the beverage that millions of people enjoy today.

Restaurants throughout Curaçao provide you with multitudes of opportunity to sample not only the unique dishes that are a part of the normal diets of islanders, but also international fare, and comfort foods from your very own home country. Our Restaurant Directory enables you to search restaurants by name, or if you are interested in a particular cuisine, click here.

 You can also choose to eat your way through Curaçao, and map out your dining route by viewing which restaurants are nearest the hotels you are considering staying at.  Sift through the hotels you are considering staying at from our extensive listing of accommodations on the islands (A to Z: Hotels in Detail), and view which restaurants are nearest your possible accommodations alongside a wealth of other details regarding the lodging site.  You can also take a moment to see if the hotels you're considering, or others nearby, have restaurants worth eating in at our article about the Best Hotels for Dining Options.

Travelers will be intrigued by the diversity of the island's food and its people. With a fine mixture of alluring international dishes and delicious local cuisine, vacationers have one more reason to make Curaçao the perfect place for their tropical island retreat.


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