The diversity of Aruba’s food choices are as varied as the population of people who have made this beautiful island home and the history that makes this country so interesting. From good food, fantastic atmosphere and great views, the restaurants of Aruba offer menus that will blow your mind and make your taste buds tingle all the way home. There are many things you will remember about your vacation in Aruba, and the food is hopefully going to be one of them!
Aruba’s cultural heritage goes back well before the Spanish influences beginning around 1500 BC. The natives of Aruba had created intricate dishes using local ingredients found on the bountiful island which produced fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, along with seafood from the nearby ocean and inland animals that could be hunted.
When the Spanish came to the island they brought over some new plants and animals along with their own food heritage. Spanish recipes blended with the local way of doing things until the Dutch came in 1636, which added a third and important influence into the pot that is Aruban food culture we recognize today.
Traditional Aruban cuisine involves many different kinds of soups and stews that utilize common ingredients found on the island- namely, goats or lamb and locally grown vegetables. Fish are also a common staple for the stews or soups. Pastechi is a popular snack which is like a shepherd’s pie – a pastry filled with beef or cheese that can be eaten throughout the day before larger meals.
As Aruba is an island many of the ingredients used in dishes today are imported from around the world, because the things the island produces naturally are not enough to feed the many thousands of people that live here. Although ingredients are imported many chefs around the island use fresh ingredients in their dishes and do their best to serve wonderful and healthy food for the people that walk into their restaurants.
Caribbean style food is what you will find abundantly in Aruba, from formal restaurants to beach-side snack shacks. Here you will find Balchi di Pisca, Cool Island Soup, Cala, Bolita di Keshi, and more local favorites! Find a restaurant that serves local cornbread and you won’t be able to forget it – this local delicacy, when made well, can change your life.
International cuisine from around the world can also be found on Aruba. Foods from Argentina, Asian countries, Italy, and more all have their home in Aruba reflecting the diversity of the people who live here. Some of the most popular restaurants serve seafood cooked in a variety of ways which is sure to appeal to people from all over the globe. Teriyaki to sushi, fish and chips to grilled salmon; you will find what you want on a plate somewhere delicious on the island!
Of course, to add to an already fantastic meal try the Aruban national beer, Balashi, or another local favorite called Dushi Aruba. When in doubt, just follow your nose!