Food Trucks and Street Food
Food Through Culture
Aruba, the One Happy Island, is known for its cheerful community and delicious finger-licking street food. However, to feel part of the island and become a true local, you must try every one of its local dishes, from pastechis to Johnny cakes to BBQ dishes. Below are listed the typical foods and our suggestions on the best places to find them.
This favorite island snack from the deep fryer can be eaten anytime; it’s a breakfast item for many but also a popular mid-day pick-me-up and pass-around snack at parties and events. They’re filled with various ingredients such as ham, cheese, pulled pork, and more. Go try them all! Here are some of our best addresses for pastechi in Aruba: Tia Rosa (also try their patacon sandwich!), Pastechi House, Welcome Snack, Prikibos
Derived from the original "journey cake", a cake that was enjoyed on the long walk or journey by donkey to work, Johnny Cakes are another island specialty and go-to snack for any time of day. The dough, made of flour, sugar, salt, butter, and baking powder, is stuffed with cheese, salt fish (bacao), ham, or chicken. For the best finger-licking johnny cakes, visit Grote Berg Snack in San Nicolas. Open daily 7 am – 3 pm. Sunday closed.
It is an exotic red fruit that grows on cactus plants, filled with powerful vitamins and antioxidants that speed healing and boost immunity. Who knew? Well, James Ramos did, the owner of local dragon fruit (and date palm) farm Cunucu di Jimmy. James grows up to five different dragon fruit types depending on the season. Want a taste? Make a stop at his roadside eatery Mi Boca Dushi on the main backroad in Ponton (a 5-minute car drive from Noord/Boardwalk). Open daily from 6:15 am – 2 pm; Sunday from 7:30 am – 2 pm.
Comfort food is abundant on Aruba, and lighting up the barbecue is a favorite pastime amongst islanders. We provided all private patios at Boardwalk with a barbecue grill. Not in the mood to do it yourself, yet craving some of the best barbecues you ever had? Head out to San Nicolas (believe us, it’s worth the drive) and pull over at Grill Twenty One for the best take-out specialties from the grill. Open Friday and Saturday 7 pm – 2 am; Sunday from 11:30 am – 3 pm. Boxed plates contain ribs, chicken, wings, pork, coleslaw, fries, and Johnny cake. Yum!
Another stop to not miss is the Local Store. The local store has a wide variety of fun Caribbean dishes which can be shared over a beer or a cocktail. Their specialty is the BBQ Balashi and Blue. Located in Palm Beach, just a five-minute drive from the Boardwalk. Open every day from 9 am - 12 am.
Another grill specialty can be found at Baby Back Grill, at the far end of Main Street in downtown Oranjestad for grilled, juicy baby racks. Open daily from 11 am – 6 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
A ‘bag’ in Papiamento is the name of a snack platted that is served in a brown paper bag and usually contains fries, ribs, chicken, and a Johnny cake. Don’t let the grease that soaks through the bag withhold you from digging in, as it is so good, especially as a late-night snack. Two addresses for excellent Saco can (both) be found in San Nicolas: Saco di Felipe, Aruba’s most popular address for Saco, so expect lines, and Good Idea Snack, about 50 steps removed from Saco di Felipe, sold from the kitchen door of Maureen Richardson. Open seven days a week, 6:30 pm-midnight;
It can be found close to Boardwalk at Nos Clubhuis – if you’re lucky, the local fishermen from Hadicurari (the pier across from Marriott’s Surf Club and Nos Clubhuis) just brought in their fresh catch, and you can order it from their menu. Nos Clubhuis (our clubhouse) was built for the local fishermen as their hangout, yet locals and visitors found their way in, and you can enjoy fried fish over magnificent Palm Beach ocean views. Other great addresses to obtain a fresh catch from a local fisherman are the Renaissance Marina pier in Oranjestad and the overly popular eatery Zeerovers in Savaneta (long lines on most days; sit down dinner and take out are possible). An under-the-radar address is Aruba Nautical Club, located in Balashi, right behind the airport, for fresh fish and encounters with -only- locals.
Another fun Caribbean delicacies hot spot is O'neill Caribbean Kitchen. This restaurant has a mixture of Caribbean and local Aruban snacks, such as fried fungi, plantains, and rice. But it is most known for its fresh fish, made in various ways such as curry, fried, boiled, and grilled. When you are visiting San Nicolaas, Make sure to stop at O'neill open every day from 12 pm to 8 pm.
Aruba is known for its wide variety of fresh smoothies found all over the island. One of the most famous and local shacks is called Mauchie’s Smoothie Shack. While on your way to the area of San Nicolas, make a stop along the main road in the charming fisherman’s town of Savaneta. Next to the Chinese supermarket Wintergarden, the vibrant Caribbean colors of Mauchie’s shack are hard to miss. Enjoy the freshest fruit juices and smoothies from Mauchie’s backyard in your drink. Insider tip: try the Wild Green, a smoothie full of vitamins and antioxidants, for an instant health boost.