No matter what you’re in the mood to eat, chances are you’ll be able to find it in Curacao. More than 50 different nationalities are represented here, a product of slavery, the island’s popularity and relative prosperity over the centuries.
Restaurants specializing in the cuisine of these disparate lands can be found all over Curacao, but to get a taste for the uniquely Curacaoan food born of the blend of the island’s 50+ global culinary traditions, Plasa Bieu is the place to go.
Nestled in the heart of the Punda district of Willemstad, Plasa Bieu is as authentic an institution of local gastronomy as you’ll find anywhere in the Caribbean. Translated from the local language of Papiamento (itself, a magical mash-up of a myriad of international influences), Plasa Bieu means “Old Market.”
The name most certainly fits.
If you want elegance with your eats –– white table cloths, fine wine, fancy anything –– then you’ll want to look elsewhere. Plasa Bieu is essentially a gritty, oversized cafeteria; hot, bustling to the point of chaotic during peak lunch hours, and unapologetically West Indian.
The cooking’s done out in the open, as is the eating –– communal style on picnic tables crowding the middle of the Plasa. Portions are large; prices, small. Patience can occasionally be thin, but it all adds to the flavor.
Six different eateries operate within Plasa Bieu every day except Sunday, and only over lunchtime. Arrive here any later than 1:30pm, and you may miss out!
What’s on the menu? Well, if it’s local, you’ll find it.
Karni stoba (stewed beef), keshi yena (filled cheese with chicken, prunes, and pickled onions), bòkel (salted mackerel), and ayaka (meat tamales wrapped in banana leafs) are among the staples. More adventurous foodies can also opt for such exotic fare as iguana soup, kabes ku higra (head and liver stew), and kadushi (cactus soup).
Yeah, Plasa Bieu is a singularly Curacaoan culinary experience not-to-be-missed! Get a broader sense of the vibe at Plasa Bieu here.
*Lead photo credit: Flickr user bionicgrrrl.