Answers from Our Experts (1)
When you visit the island, don’t miss these must-have Aruba food experiences:
The little fishing pier out in Savaneta named after the Dutch word for “pirates” is the spot to get the freshest catch of the day served in the local style. In fact, you can often watch the fishermen bring in the catch and sometimes even choose your own fish.
Then it’s grilled or fried in front of you and served with typical Aruban sides like funchi, rice and fried plantains. It’s best enjoyed with a splash of their famous hot sauce and an icy locally brewed Balashi — said to be the only beer in the world made from desalinated sea water.
The choices of snacks and local fare spans an interesting mix of influences — Latin American, Aruban and Dutch. Pastechis, deep-fried dough pockets full of meat, cheese or seafood, are Aruba’s answer to South America’s arepas. Dutch snacks of meat and cheese called bitterballen, krokets and frikandel are also deep-fried.
Distinctly Aruban is keshi yena, a hollowed-out Gouda cheese filled with a savory spiced mix of meat or seafood. Also Aruban are bolos, which are cakes, typically cashew- or rum-filled. The bolo preto (black cake) is one of the most liquor-laden Christmas fruitcakes in the world.
Stobas and Soups
Since the Spanish brought the goats and then left them to fend for themselves, they have become a problem on a small arid island where little grows as the animals tend to eat everything in sight.
That’s probably why cobrita stoba, goat stew, is so big on Aruba. Also big is pumpkin soup and fish soup. And most dishes are served with pan bati (flatbread), funchi (a polenta-style cornmeal mash) and fried plantains.
Kitchen Table by White
Local chef Urvin Croes made a big splash with his creative cuisine and penchant for deconstructing fare at his flagship restaurant White Modern Seafood and now has brought his imitable style of creating modern twists on classic Aruban dishes to an intimate open kitchen venue.
Located at Blue Residences on Eagle Beach, the restaurant requires reservations since it only seats 16. The chef changes the menu to fit the season, and each seating includes a seven- or eight-course Aruban/Caribbean feast paired with wines. Reserve as far ahead as possible; the eatery is often booked months in advance.
Aruba has many fine-dining experiences and many romantic toes-in-the-sand dining options, but it doesn’t get more romantic than dining in bed.
The gourmet fare at Screaming Eagle alone is well worth going for, and it makes some of the island’s best creative signature cocktails, but the opportunity to enjoy it all in a canopied bed — cuddled up with your sweetheart or eating slumber party style with a friend — is definitely a unique experience.