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 to be had. But what about the island's food? Well, that's just as good, maybe even better, especially after a long day of exploration. Aruba's combination of European, Caribbean, South American and Far Eastern residents have blended together to help infuse the island's cuisine with an international flair. Here are ten dishes you need to try on your next visit to this beautiful island.
1. Seafood - Perhaps the most apparent food to try while on the island is the fish and seafood. In the Caribbean Sea, some of the most amazingly fresh seafood can be found. 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 go on forever.
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 is prepared with simple ingredients, it is 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 adorn this delectable dish of steamed beef wrapped in a banana leaf. That's not all you get, though. There are a ton of ingredients used to create this unique, mouthwatering Venezuelan dish.
5. Keshi Yena - This authentic Aruban meal is a must-try! It includes a ball of cheese stuffed with meat or poultry that is spiced to perfection. Anywhere you go on the tropical island, you will find a unique and off-beat version of this dish.
6. Funchi and Banana Hash - This combo is certainly one that packs a lot of tasty flavors! 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. You must order a helping of Pan Bollo (bread pudding with Ponche cream or rum, and ice cream) or Bolo di Banana (plantain pudding).
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.
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.
10. Pastechi - Pastechi is a portion of famous Aruban street food. You can find it offered by most street food vendors, and all of them claim to make it the best. No matter where you get it, you don't want to miss out on this gouda-filled pastry.
Whatever restaurants or cafes you choose to visit while in Aruba, make sure you don't leave without indulging in some of these foods! They are by far some of the greatest, tastiest options on the island. If you would like more information on the most popular restaurants and places to go on your Aruban getaway, just contact me.