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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Scott

Aruba Cuisine, 10 Dishes You’ll Want to Try

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

All those pictures on your feed? Yeah, those are probably Aruba. What’s funny is that people typically don’t post the food, but that’s one of the most impressive features of the island! It’s a vibrant, diverse collection with a wide range of influences.

As the most vibrant island in the Caribbean, Aruba is more than meets the eye. With untouched beaches and a ton of adventures awaiting, there’s an endless amount of fun waiting for you. But what about the island’s food? Well, that’s just as good, maybe even better, especially after a long day of exploration. So, to help you prepare and plan for your trip to the island, here are ten dishes you most certainly must try.

1. Seafood

Perhaps the most apparent food to try while on the island is fish and other seafood. In the Caribbean Sea, you can find some of the best fresh seafood in the world. Take your pick between mahi-mahi, grouper, lionfish, prawn, or red snapper if you’re looking for a simple dish to try. However, the options are truly endless.

2. Pan Bati

This bread is usually on the side of every main dish served on the island, and with good reason. Pan Bati is a sweet flatbread that dissolves in your mouth. Although it’s prepared with simple ingredients, it’s far from being dull in flavor.

3. Stews and Soups

Many of the local eateries and restaurants serve traditional Aruban stews and soups. Usually, the stews are full of chicken, fish, or goat meat, although you can still find soups and stews made with beef or lamb as we make it here in the states.

4. Ayaca

Dried fruit and cashews embellish this dish of steamed beef wrapped in a banana leaf. But that’s not all. Many ingredients are used to create this unique, mouthwatering Venezuelan dish, and you’ll see it prepared in many ways!

5. Keshi Yena

This authentic Aruban meal is a must-try! It includes a ball of cheese stuffed with meat or poultry with native spices. Anywhere you go on the island, you’ll find a unique and off-beat version of this dish.

6. Funchi and Banana Hash

This combo is undoubtedly unique to Aruba but packs a punch! Funchi is fried cornmeal mush, often served with gouda and a side of fried plantains.

7. Authentic Aruban Desserts

Pudding is a big deal in Aruba and a high prize in the dessert pantheon. An order of Pan Bollo (bread pudding with Ponche cream or rum and ice cream) or Bolo di Banana (plantain pudding) is absolutely required for a complete trip!

8. Hot Papaya Sauce

Often served on the side of meals, hot papaya sauce is the perfect addition to a meal if you can stand the sweet heat of papaya fruit mashed with hot peppers. Nothing better than two flavors combining as an excellent add-on to your food.

9. Aruba Ariba and a Local Beer

Although it isn’t food, the local beer is worth a shot. Balashi is the most popular beer on the island, but there are a ton of delicious choices. Balashi is known as a Pale Ale and has a smooth, island flavor profile.

10. Pastechi

Pastechi consists of a deep-fried dough filled with various ingredients such as chicken, beef, tuna, vegetables, or cheese. The base typically adds finely chopped onions for a flavorful finish. Prepared as a breakfast meal or snack inside the home, outside the home, you can find Pastechi offered by most street food vendors, and all of them claim to make it best. No matter where you get it, you don’t want to miss out on this pastry!

It doesn’t matter what restaurants or cafes you choose to visit while in Aruba, but make sure you don’t leave without indulging in some of the foods mentioned on this list! They are by far some of the greatest, tastiest options on the island.

I’m a little hungry now reading through all these options, and if you have that feeling too, please schedule a consultation so we can make this a destination for you! I can’t wait to hear about your ideas for Aruban cuisine!

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