Old Market in Curacao
Food Adventure Involving Iguana!
With Curacao's Dutch history, I expected to sample some Dutch food. But after a fun conversation with a chatty cab driver, I decided my goal was to try the local favorite, Iguana Soup! This is the Old Market building where I met my goal!
An Old Fashioned Food Court
Don and I peeked in during a morning walk. The yellow wall was lined with counters which were stacked with dishes and large pots. Different food vendors were preparing for the lunch crowd.
Tables and Benches
The rest of the space was filled with cloth covered community tables, protected by sheets of clear plastic. There were a few odd chandeliers hanging down, but most of the light came through the slatted windows. Actually they weren't windows at all. The whole place was an open air pavilion with criss-cross slats of wood.
There were about 10 different vendors open when we returned for lunch. We were drawn to the welcoming "Grasia de Dios" in the very center of the market. Caesar, with his big smile and many tattoos, was our server. He seemed pretty delighted that I wanted to try the iguana soup. He assured me it tasted just like chicken.
John (the owner, I believe) sat right down at our table and started speaking German to us. He laughed to find out we were American. "The Germans like it when you speak German." He explained. Then we settled into a fun conversation about names. He was proud to let us know John means Grace of God.
Our food arrived in colorful plastic dishes! I looked around and spotted a couple non-locals in the crowd. None of them seemed to have made the iguana soup choice. I was glad to see Don had a lot of food to share in case I was unable to finish my soup.
Here We Go
As you can see, it looks like I'm pretty eager about... a bowl of broth. In fact is there even anything on my spoon?
Don's plate was looking pretty good to me with curried chicken, rice, beans and plantains. Nothing scary there. As you can see there were quite a few carrots and potatoes in my bowl, so I wouldn't starve.
Close Up on the Soup!
Caesar didn't warn me that the iguana meat would be stuck to bones and tendons and such. I didn't have my glasses on, so I didn't really see what I was doing.
I did a lot of smiling as I worked on my soup because Caesar and John were checking on my reaction. I got pretty good at working on pieces in my mouth and discarding the non edible parts into my napkin. I pretended I was one of those skilled people who can eat a cherry with stem and open their mouth to reveal the stem tied in a knot. Well, not quite that skilled.
Iguana Here and There
Actually the taste of the meat wasn't bad. It did taste like chicken. But sometimes I feel guilty when I sample a local favorite that involves "pets". Like eating guinea pig in Peru.
But by the end of our trip to the ABC Islands, I was getting pretty freaked out by all the iguana invasions. One crawled over my foot while eating breakfast. So all in all, my iguana feast was successful. When Caesar came to clear the plates, he opened my lid and smiled. "You did a good job!" Why did he seem so surprised?
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.