What are some of the popular traditional dishes that are commonly served in restaurants in Oranjestad?

Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba, and like any other island, it is blessed with an abundance of local ingredients. Being influenced by Dutch, Caribbean, and South American cuisine, the food scene in Oranjestad is an exciting mix of flavors and cultures.

One of the most famous dishes in Aruba is Keshi Yena, which is a stuffed cheese dish. It is made by taking the rind off of a Gouda or Edam cheese and stuffing it with spiced meat, vegetables, and sometimes fruits like raisins. Once the cheese is stuffed, it is baked until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot and savory.

Another authentic Aruban dish is Sopa di Pisca, or fish soup. This hearty soup is made by simmering a variety of fish like wahoo and mahi-mahi with vegetables like onions, peppers, and carrots. The soup is then flavored with cilantro, garlic, and other spices. It is served with a side of fried plantains or a slice of cornbread.

Bitterballen is a Dutch-inspired dish that has become very popular in Oranjestad. These are fried balls of meat and gravy that are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are a great snack to have with a cold beer.

Seafood is a staple in Oranjestad, and the best place to try some delicious seafood is at The Old Fisherman. This restaurant serves up fresh seafood caught daily and prepared in traditional Aruban recipes. The seafood platter is a must-try, and it includes shrimp, lobster, crab, and fish.

For a quick bite, try the Johnny Cakes at Juan Valdez Cafe. These are fried cornmeal patties that are filled with cheese or ham. They are perfect for breakfast or a light snack.

Another local favorite is Ayaca, which is similar to a tamale. It is made by steaming a mixture of cornmeal, vegetables, and meats in banana leaves. The resulting dish is soft and savory, with a touch of sweetness from the banana leaf.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Bon Bini Festival is a must-visit. This festival takes place every Tuesday from January to March and is a celebration of Caribbean culture and food. One of the most popular desserts at the festival is the Arepa di Pampuna, which is a pumpkin pancake that is topped with syrup and cinnamon.

To sum it up, Oranjestad is a food lover’s paradise. From stuffed cheese dishes to hearty soups and seafood platters, there is something for everyone’s taste. Be sure to try some of the local favorites when visiting this charming city, and explore the flavors of Aruba.

Recipe for Keshi Yena:

– 1 round Gouda or Edam cheese
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 lb ground beef
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1/2 cup olives, chopped
– 1 tbsp tomato paste
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1 tbsp soy sauce
– 1/4 cup bread crumbs
– 1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cut off the top of the cheese and scoop out the insides, leaving a shell about 1/2 inch thick.
3. In a skillet, sauté onion, red bell pepper, and garlic until soft.
4. Add ground beef and cook until browned.
5. Stir in raisins, olives, tomato paste, cumin, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce.
6. Cook until the mixture is heated through.
7. Spoon the mixture into the cheese shell.
8. Mix bread crumbs with the beaten egg.
9. Top the cheese with the bread crumb mixture.
10. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Where to eat:

– The Old Fisherman: L.G. Smith Blvd. 88
– Juan Valdez Cafe: Renaissance Marketplace, L.G. Smith Blvd.
– Bon Bini Festival: Fort Zoutman, Willem III Tower Square.

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