Have you ever eaten Surinam food? NO? ....then you definitely have to give it a try while vacationing in Curacao!
What is Surinam?
If you tell a friend that you’re going to eat Surinam, you’ll almost certainly receive a blank stare, unless your from the Netherlands or one of the Dutch Caribbean islands.
That’s sad, because Surinam is arguably one of the world’s most impressive melting pots with the most wonderful food that you luckily also can find in Curacao! But to understand the Surinamese food you’ll encounter in Curacao, you should know some of the country’s background.
Surinam is one of South America's least discussed nations, located between British Guyana and French Guyana on the north Atlantic coast and used to be part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands just like Curacao still is.
Once belonged to the British colonists, the Dutch traded it for New York in 1667 and started importing African slaves to Surinam. After the Dutch finally abolished African slavery in the 19th century, they began bringing over laborers to work on the plantations in Surinam. Those laborers came from Indonesia, India, China, and the Middle East and heavily influenced the local cuisine with their different cultural backgrounds and food preferences. They made the Surinamese kitchen into a beautiful and exciting melting pot of flavors.
When Shell opened a refinery in Curacao in 1918, many Surinamese immigrated to Curacao attracted by the economic boom. Another group moved to Curacao when Suriname was granted independence in 1975. Its people were given the choice of Surinamese or Dutch citizenship, and nearly half the population at that time opted to migrate to the Netherlands and other parts of the Dutch Kingdom such as Curacao bringing along their intriguing multicultural cuisine.
Not having eaten Surinam food definitely is a missed opportunity for culinary travelers.
Surinam's food is true fusion cooking and since it is influenced by so many cultures there’s a dish to suit every palate.
Surinam food is characterized by its simplicity and spices. It are often one-dish meals that combine meat and/or fish with vegetables and spices.
Some dishes to try out are:
Indonesian Bami goreng sate; noodles fried in cooking oil together with fried onions, garlic, boullion, celery and some other secret spices and served with chicken and peanut sauce.
Chinese Chow min; rice or noodles mixed with assorted meat and Chinese vegetables. Chop Soi (Chop Suey) and Sawpaw (Steamed buns with meat insinde) are also popular Chinese dishes.
Creole Pom; a casserole that is made out of the shredded root of the Tayer plant, orange juice, spices and fried chicken in a sauce. The sauce of the chicken gives the pom a slightly darker color. This casserole might seem to be a strange combination of ingredients but it is surprisingly delicious.
Indian Roti; an Indian flatbread with potatoes, lentils, and/or chicken, or beef in massala (curry)
Our favorite Surinam Restaurant in Curacao
Having lived in Curacao for a long time, we have tried out many different Surinam restaurants but restaurant Warung Jawa Smulboetiek stayed our favorite. In fact, we make sure we always go there whenever we are in Curacao.
Warung Jawa is a place that you certainly do not go to for the ambience, but if you are a dedicated foodie that places authenticity over pretty garnishes this is the place for you for delicious, home-style Surinamese food!!!
Our favorites are:
Loempia (chicken egg roll)
Bami Kip (fried noodles with soya chicken)
Gado Gado (steamed vegetables with rice and peanut sauce)
Kip in Zoetzure Saus (chicken in sweet and sour sauce)
Roti Kip (roti chicken).
There are many dishes we have never tried though. So if you visit Warung Jawa and have tried something different that you like, let us know!
You can find Warung Jawa Smulboetiek in Salinja. The best time to go there is for lunch.
They are open from Tuesday till Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Interested in staying with us? Contact us for information about our oceanfront villa, one of the nicest Curacao vacation rentals.
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