Look out onto bright neon colors that make up the town’s unique skyline, listen to the Curacaoan speak in its native Papiamento, and delight in the island cuisine that crosses the international flavors of Dutch heritage with a melting pot of Caribbean cultural influences. Curacao is rich and diverse in history lending itself wholeheartedly to the creation of rich and diverse menus all over the island making local cuisine one of Curacao’s great treasures. You would certainly miss out if you didn’t dine like a local. Food is deeply influenced by all its nationalities, particularly its large population of African descent, so experience fusion cuisine at its finest by choosing local eateries. 

Indulge your taste buds with a journey through the local food scene, starting with the hidden gems found in low key food trucks called Truk’i Pan. These humble establishments offer a truly authentic experience, with mouthwatering dishes prepared by passionate chefs. Whether it’s a melt-in-your-mouth taco with homemade salsa or a perfectly grilled burger with all the fixings, these food trucks will leave you craving for more.

If you’re looking for something more upscale, elevate your dining experience to the beachfront. Picture yourself seated at a beautifully adorned table, with the soft sound of crashing waves and a gentle sea breeze. Immerse yourself in the culinary wonders of a five-star restaurant, where skilled chefs curate menus that tantalize your taste buds and please the eyes. Each dish is a masterpiece, meticulously crafted with the finest ingredients and a creative touch.

At these high-end beachfront restaurants, expect a symphony of flavors to dance across your palate. Mouthwatering seafood harvested fresh from the ocean, succulent steaks perfectly cooked to your liking, and decadent desserts that redefine indulgence. With every bite, you’ll experience a burst of flavors that transport you to culinary bliss.

Are you in the mood for some delicious local cuisine? Look no further than Plasa Bieu. Tucked just a few streets away from the bustling open-air market, is a food lover’s paradise. Step inside and you’ll find a covered area with various food stands offering authentic and affordable dishes. The atmosphere is lively, with plastic-topped picnic tables inviting you to take a seat. One stand that stands out is run by the renowned chef Zus, who is loved by locals for his mouthwatering creations. Place your order and watch as the skilled chefs behind the counter work their magic.

From freshly cooked mula and dradu fish to savory meatballs and hearty stews, Plasa Bieu has something to satisfy every palate. The dishes are expertly seasoned and served with tender plantains, perfectly complementing the main course. But the real star of the show? Zus’ pumpkin pancakes.

These pancakes are truly a treat for your taste buds. They have a delightful chewiness and just the right amount of sweetness. With a hint of cinnamon, they offer a flavor that will leave a lasting impression on your culinary memory.

Walking through the tiny kitchen and out toward the back dock at Restaurant Purunchi, you’ll be greeted with a cheerful round of “Bon Tarde!” from the staff and locals who have come for hand squeezed limonchi (lime juice) and fresh fish. As you seat yourself at one of the mismatched tables, you’ll see pelicans hanging out across the bay and feel the breeze on your skin as it rushes through the row of tiny fishing boats. There are no menus, just a selection of whatever was caught that morning served with rice or tender funchi which is similar to polenta.  This is Curaçao dining in its purest form.

Local cuisine known as kriyoyo today, represents its African, European and South American influences. Popular dishes include chicken satay skewers with pinda (peanut) sauce, warm cornmeal arepas stuffed with shredded meat and mini croquets known as bitterballen. With sea travel comprising such a major part of life for much of the island’s early development, locals found creative ways to make the most of sometimes limited resources.  This mindset led to what is possibly the most well-known local dish, keshi yena, which is traditionally made from a hollowed out wheel of Gouda cheese that has been filled with chicken, raisins and vegetables. 

Livin’ La Vida Local  

Stroll through the maze of back street alleys and you’ll be amazed at the global stew of international eats to choose from. Or, take advantage of the many after hour food truck eateries  called Truki pans, where  you can purchase plenty of yummy food for everyone.On the menu: Karko (conch meat), Stoba (stewed goat or beef), Dradu (local Mahi-Mahi), lobster, funghi (corn food) plantains (fried bananas) Funchi, a polenta-like side dish made with cornmeal; Pika Hasa, red snapper; and of course the signature dish Keshi Yena, a savory meal of cheese stuffed with meat or fish. 

Curaçao also boasts its own hot sauce Pika. Pika is made with diced onions, vinegar, and hot peppers and is used to enhance many of the local dishes. Ask for it when dining out and if you can’t live without it, take home this easy recipe.

Curacaoan Pika Onion Relish: 1 large red onion, finely chopped, 1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeded, 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar and 4 tsp salt. Combine all ingredients together in a large just, shake until salt dissolves, let marinate 2-3 days. Serve with stews, meat, fish and corn dishes. Keeps well for up to 3 months.