Published On: Fri, Dec 28th, 2012

Kuminda Krioyo (Creole Food)

WILLEMSTAD - Local food is heavy and hearty. Main dishes such as fried fish, stewed goat (kabritu), chicken and beef are served with peas and rice (aros moro), potatoes or funchi, a boiled cornmeal paste that resembles polenta.

Mixed with beans and sugar, funchi becomes tutu. For the really adventuresome there is stewed iguana (yuana), with a taste remarkably like chicken.

Vegetables usually play a secondary role in traditional Curaçao cuisine, with some notable exceptions. Green papaya, nubbly local cucumbers (konkomber) or cabbage are stewed with corned beef. Okra (yambó) and cactus (kadushi) are made into slimy soups, definitely an acquired taste.

Fried plantains are a popular side dish; a sweet soup is also made from plantains and vegetables, seasoned with peppers and cinnamon (see recipe). Small colorful hot peppers (promèntè) and pickled onions add spice to local dishes.

To sample krioyo food at its best, lunch at the covered food market (Marshe) in Punda during the week. The atmosphere is crowded and noisy (mostly local office workers on lunch break) but you can't beat it for local color, price and portion size. Hygiene is excellent.

Great fresh seafood, including karkó (conch), can be had at rustic seaside restaurants at Piscadera, and Playa Kanoa (weekends only). For a less casual atmosphere, consult the restaurant listings at the back of the book.

For late night takeout, local style, don't miss the roadside snack trucks (truk'i pan) and snack bars. If you just want a snack, grab a pastechi (fried meat pastry) lumpia (fried vegetable roll) or empaná (fried white cornmeal pastry filled with meat).

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