Home guest articles Aruba: Happy Island & Foodie Paradise (Part 1)

Aruba: Happy Island & Foodie Paradise (Part 1)

written by Guest Blogger April 20, 2010

In today’s post, Bindu Grandhi, a.k.a. The Flex Cook and author of Spice Up Your Life, shares with us her recent adventures in Aruba. Read on if you’re a Foodie and wish to experience Aruba and its scrumptious, healthy Aruban cuisine.

Every year my family and I seek out a tropical paradise to luxuriate in doing nothing at all. This time, we chose Aruba as our destination.

What’s Aruba like?

This tiny island located in the Southern Caribbean is 19 miles long and six miles across at its widest part. Its terrain is unique, not only are there miles of pristine white beaches rimmed by calm blue seas, but it also has areas that are rugged (where you need jeeps to access), while the interior is somewhat desert-like with cacti and  dramatic rock formations.

The weather is absolutely perfect – a balmy 82ºF (28ºC) everyday!

The native language is Papiamento – a Creole language containing elements of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French, as well as Arawak and African languages. Dutch is the official language, and Spanish and English are also spoken.

Our Aruba trip

For one week, we stayed at the Divi Phoenix Beach Resort located on Palm Beach in a beautiful one bedroom suite with a fully equipped kitchen overlooking the ocean and beach.

All the beaches in Aruba are public and Palm is one of the best beaches. The sand is so fine that it feels like silk to walk on, especially in the water.

Divi Phoenix is at the tail end of Palm so it was not crowded or noisy, especially because all the water activities were located further down so you didn’t hear the jet skis and speed boats.

We spent our days lazing at the beach and pool, reading The Lost Symbol and refraining from the web, email, etc. enabling us to be completely disconnected from the world.

One day we visited De Palm Island, an all-inclusive private paradise where we snorkeled with the blue parrot fish, rode the banana boat and splashed around in the “funtastic” (as my son says) water park. On another day we toured the island and visited the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Casibari Rock formation, Baby Natural Bridge (a formation of coral limestone cut out by years of pounding surf) and Baby Beach known for its calm, shallow and refreshing waters.

The capital city Oranjestad is quaint and picturesque with its Dutch colonial architecture in pastel colors. It’s the primary spot to shop and we picked up souvenirs and gifts from the open market vendors.

Eating in Aruba

We opted for a non-inclusive package to have more control over our meal plan. We went to one of four large supermarkets and picked up some basic items like milk, bread, cereal so that we could eat a light breakfast in the room. Lunch usually consisted of light sandwiches and salads, and o.k., we did eat fries, too, by the pool. As for dinner, Aruba has a plethora of restaurants catering to every cuisine imaginable.

Tip: Ask the locals where to eat to experience authentic foreign cuisine!

To our pleasant surprise everyone cited the same restaurants. Of the restaurants we went to, our favorites are Papiamento and Chef’s Tables.

Picture this: Eating in a garden under a canopy of trees, feeling the tropical breeze on your skin – this is the outdoor dining experience that the 150-year old manor Papiamento offers.

For starters, we ordered Mushroom Bisque and Tomato Bisque. Both were creamy and delish!

The main course consisted of the Mere Limon – a baked fillet of grouper shallow fried in Dutch butter served with a lime and caper cream sauce – and the Garlic Chicken Baked – a boneless chicken breast topped with roasted garlic in cream.

Both dishes were out of this world but the grouper literally melted in my mouth and it didn’t taste fishy! The sauce was light, creamy, flavorful and aromatic – unequivocally satisfying all my senses. Even my husband who is not a big fan of fish loved it.

Unlike the typical American ‘super-sized’ portions, everything was served in appropriate servings which left us feeling satisfied but not too full. In fact, most of the restaurants we dined at allowed you to choose a half portion of a dish. I wish they would introduce that simple concept in the U.S.

At Papiamento, only the freshest ingredients are used. All the main courses consisted of primarily vegetables and healthy grains with a modest serving of meat, poultry and fish – about a 60% to 40% ratio of vegetables to meat. (Editor’s note: This is called a flexitarian diet!)

Stay tuned for Thursday’s post for Part 2 of Bindu’s Aruban adventure where she focuses more on the local cuisine and shares delectable pictures that will make your mouth water!

Special thanks to Bindu’s husband, Preetham Grandhi (author of A Circle of Souls), for contributing his photography skills to this post.

About Bindu
Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.

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Grace Cherian April 21, 2010 at 6:43 am

Aruba sure sounds like a paradise!
Makes me want to go there.

Head Health Nutter April 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Me, too, Grace!

Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman April 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Aruba looks gorgeous. Thanks Stephanie for giving me something to aim for in terms of a vacation paradise.


Head Health Nutter April 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Emmanuel, we’ll have to thank Bindu for sharing her Aruba with us through her review. I’m totally stoked to go, too! 🙂


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