Going Local: Experience the Unique Flavors of Aruba

published on July 31, 2023 by

Here’s an Aruba fun fact: there are nearly 100 nationalities represented in the island’s population. There’s just something about this beautiful, southern Caribbean destination that attracts people from all over the globe. As a result, Aruba’s cuisine is diverse and unique, drawing from a wide range of international influences — African, European, Asian, South American, and of course, Caribbean. In other words, it’s a very flavorful place to visit if you’re a foodie. Below, find out what to eat in Aruba — and where to eat it!

Dutch Pancakes

As you may know, Aruba is a destination with deep Dutch heritage stretching back centuries. That heritage is still very much in evidence in the island’s cuisine. For example, the Dutch pancake! Served for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this beloved delicacy is thinner and larger than an American pancake — it’s about the size of your plate! Sweet versions include fillings like apple, banana or even ice cream. Savory versions come with bacon, ham, cheese or mushrooms and onions. 

  • Where To Try It: The name says it all. The Dutch Pancake House at Renaissance Marketplace in downtown Oranjestad offers more than 75 authentic varieties of Dutch pancakes, both sweet and savory. 

Keshi Yena

Known as the national dish of Aruba, Keshi Yena is a casserole whose name translates roughly to “stuffed cheese.” And that’s what it is! The dish consists of spiced ground beef or chicken within a gooey Edam cheese shell. Keshi Yena is one of the ultimate Aruban comfort foods, satisfying to the very last bite. 

  • Where To Try It: One of the best Aruba restaurants, Papiamento is set amidst a lush tropical garden, making it an outdoor dining experience like no other. Here, the chefs have perfected the art of the Keshi Yena, finding the ideal mix of sweet and salty. 

Pisca Hasa

It’s no surprise that Aruba is a seafood lover’s dream come true, with fresh catches coming in from local fishermen on an hourly basis. Conch, tuna, wahoo, mahi-mahi, grouper, and snapper are all big on the island. One of the preferred ways to enjoy this bounty is in the pisca hasa style — fried fish, basically. Also known as “fish creole,” it’s as simple — and delicious — as can be, made with garlic, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. 

  • Where To Try It: An authentic, family owned Oranjestad eatery, Taste My Aruba has a rotating menu filled with ultra-fresh “catch of the day” offerings. They’ll make your seafood any way you like — but try it pisca hasa style! 


You’ve probably had an empanada. Pastechis are essentially the Aruban version of that dish. But Aruba puts its own spin on this traditionally South American recipe. The pastechi is usually a breakfast snack — a sweet or savory half-moon shaped pastry that’s fried and filled with all kinds of tasty treats: meat, cheese, fruit — even lobster! It is often served with a variety of condiments, too. It’s a hearty way to start your day full of adventure in Aruba.  

  • Where To Try It: Located on Oranjestad’s bustling Main Street, The Pastechi House not only serves up the very best pastechis in Aruba, — they’re also well-known for their perfect croquettes. 


An excellent Aruba finger food, pan-bati literally means “beaten bread” — because it’s so flat. Made with sweetened cornmeal, pan-bati is a regular Creole-inspired side-dish that complements so much of Aruban cuisine. Some restaurants add sugar and sweet fruit fillings to make it into a delicious Caribbean dessert. 

  • Where To Try It: A local hangout, Zeerovers in Savaneta is perched right on the water, making it a perfect setting for enjoying some tasty pan-bati. This no-frills Aruba restaurant is also a great place to get some fresh-off-the-boat seafood. 

Start planning your local foodie escape now — check out your Aruba timeshare rental options. And to dig deeper, check out the 10 best things to do in Aruba.  

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