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eating in Aruba 2009

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I just returned from a week in Aruba, (my first!) Overall, I was gravely disappointed in the food. First, the discovery that most of the seafood was shipped in from other islands or, worse, from Florida, depressed me to the core. Here I was snorkeling among millions of snapper and not a one to eat!

I tried to find the fish market at the harbor marked on my map. (I was staying in an apartment with a decently equipped kitchen). Turns out, the market is gone. The only remnant is the mark on the map. What did the woman in the boutique where the market once existed suggest? That I go to the Ling and Sons Supermarket, as they have the best fish. (My other choice was to go to the point where the few remaining fishing boats dock and purchase a fish to clean myself. Now, I said the kitchen was stocked, but I was not equipped for that).

So I tried a few fish restaurants. I did not have a single enjoyable meal in a single hotel restaurant. But I did enjoy a lovely evening at the ill-named Gasparito's and enjoyed a respectable piece of freshly caught Grouper at Madame Janette's. (I also fell in love with the wine list at Madame Janette's).

But my best meal was on Eagle Beach. I was sent to find Mrs. Kelly's snack truck upon recommendation of the tourism office. And my adventure was rewarded. Mrs. Kelly is warm and bubbly and is expert at all the traditional creole foods once found in Aruban homes. (The kind of food that has lost out to prepackaged convenience foods.) I sampled creole fish cakes, goat ribs and chicken with peanut sauce, all tender and flavorful and prepared before my eyes in the cramped quarters of Mrs. Kelly's truck.

If you're in Aruba on a Saturday, you must seek out Mrs. Kelly's truck. It is both a culinary and cultural experience and one of Aruba's gastronomic highlights.

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  1. I'd love to try out Mrs Kelly's truck. When and where is she located?

    1 Reply
    1. re: StephInNYC

      I am sorry you had a bad dining experience. I also love Gasparitos. I am not sure Aruba's fishermen could sustain the entire island's demand for fish in all honesty. This is common on many islands. Try to find local fish in Bermuda..very difficult. It is easy on Bonaire as we have only 14k residents and do not cater to the masses like Aruba. If you like local food and fresh fish why not try a less populated island? Just a thought. I too cannot wait to try Mrs. Kelly's. IS her truck at a specific hotel on the beach and lunch only? BTW, this is preaching to the choir I know but Grouper is a no no from an eco standpoint..love it but will not eat it..

    2. Just had a bbq with fresh fish caught in Aruba. The people bbqing were locals and they told me you can get alot of fresh fish. Wacky Wahoo is fresh, Chalet Suisse - fresh, etc. etc. etc. I don't know where you got your info but you just didn't look in the right places.
      JMHO, Linda writing this from Aruba

      2 Replies
      1. re: Linda VH

        thanks for the info. we will also be there for our first time this month, and are also searching for fresh seafood. i must say an internet search of local restaurants and reviewing the menus looks dismal, but i have just started looking...

        1. re: TBird

          check out www.aruba-bb.com, www.visitaruba.com and www.aruba.com for restaurant reviews. In the paper this a.m. Fishes and More has fresh seafood (specials every Wednesday) and most restaurants have a "catch of the day". I see the fishing boats from my balcony although they usually fish on the "wild side". Acqua Grille touts their seafood but most comes from up north. If you see Maine Lobster, think brought in - if on the other hand you see Carib lobster you are, IMHO, in for a treat. I prefer the tail anyway.