There are so many islands in the Caribbean that if I cooked food from all of them, I'd probably never advance out of the "As." However, finding recipes from specific Caribbean islands is much more difficult than I had expected. So far, I've had to skip Antigua, Anguilla and the Antilles as I haven't been able to get enough recipes from such places to create a full menu (I'm still trying, though). Fortunately, one of the several Aruban tourism sites, Visit Aruba, features a couple of dozen traditional Aruban recipes, so in this one case I was able to have my pick. It was fortunate because most (albeit not all) of the dishes I cooked were very good.
Aruba is a small island off the coast of Venezuela. It was originally colonized by the Spaniards though later taken over by the Dutch; the island is still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its population, as one can expect, is quite heterogenous. Over 40 nationalities live in Aruba in addition to the Aruban themselves, who are a mixture of indigenous people, African slaves, Spanish and Dutch. The native language is papiamento, an amalgamation of several languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, the native Aruban language and African dialects) that evolved to allow slaves to communicate with their European masters. As one can expect, Aruban cuisine also shows strong international influences and most of the dishes I found can be identified as having their roots elsewhere. Still, they have their own island flavor as well as a distinctive Caribbean personality.
While I cooked serveral dishes for my Aruban menu, I chose things that would be relatively easy to make and contained few ingredients (I'm trying to be a little bit more cost conscious in my choice of recipes). Still, I did spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen. My final menu consisted of:
Fried Meat Croquettes served with mustard and accompanied by
- Salada di Batata
This was followed by a main dish of:
- Pisca Hasa
We had two desserts:
- Banana den Forno
Baked Bananas and
- Pan Bollo
Aruban Bread Pudding with Rhum Sauce
One final note, I left my digital camera at a friend's, so I wasn't able to take pictures of any of the dishes I made :(.
Aruban Food Links
- Aruban Local Cuisine - by Visit Aruba