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Aruba Food Truck Fetishes Revealed

Next week on the 29th and 30th of April, Aruba is hosting its first ever Food Truck Festival, where you can enjoy delicious food, craft beers, desserts and live music. In light of that special occasion, we thought it would be nice to give you special insider information on some of the best food trucks in Aruba in this mouthwatering blog post by Chicago native Taylor Escobedo:

Food Truck Fetishes Revealed

I must confess my dark secret.  It’s an urge that overtakes me after midnight when the moon has risen high in the sky.  I have tried to say no, tried to be a good boy, and just go home, but my carnal instincts won’t let me.  I have come to realize there is no silver bullet, no necklace of garlic that will fend off this urge.  Nope, it’s useless—I am a victim of the late-night food trucks.

Food trucks, snack trucks, food stands—call them what you will, these mobile eateries are a unique part of the Island’s culture.  Let me entice you to join the legions of food zombies that make their way into the streets—many times after a night of partying and dancing in the clubs and bars—to find the nearest plate of fries smothered in peanut sauce.

The aromas drifting from the grills and fryers of these food stands, dotted all around the island, are like beacons to the late-night crowd.  Often, the parties carry on into the parking lots and side streets that serve as addresses for these usually mobile kitchens.

Picture: Poffertjes van Pofferdorie

The trucks offer a variety of meals and snacks suited perfectly for late-night munchies, although a few stands and trucks are open during the day and early evening. You could even go so far as to consider the food truck experience a cultural journey of fast food because many of these trucks and stands are owned not just by locals, but also by Colombian, Venezuelan, American, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and Dutch entrepreneurs. Juicy burgers are trademarked by a special sauce made a bit differently by each truck. Good old American hot dogs can be found alongside grilled chorizo and other South American sausages.  The Arepa—a Venezuelan favorite made of seasoned cornmeal that is pan-fried and stuffed with meat or cheese—is served at several trucks as well.  And those fries with peanut sauce are definitely a Dutch-inspired treat, along with chicken and pork sate.  Believe me: I have sampled the food of at least a dozen trucks and I have always found something I like on the menu.

Tia Rosa Snack

Photo: www.10best.com

Located in Pos Chikito (on the way to Savaneta) and the winner of 2012’s Battle of the Food Trucks, this family enterprise serves Dominican-inspired patacones, a sandwich made with twice-fried plantains, instead of bread, stuffed with fillings like cheese, ham, chicken, and topped with a variety of accouterments. 

Chalo Burger

Taking second place in 2012’s Battle of the Food Trucks, and third place in 2013, this truck specializes in a mammoth burger layered with toppings and served with a special sauce that locals love. 

Mama's (Truk Di Mama)

Photo by Ian New York

Open for lunch, this truck is an Eagle Beach institution, attracting locals (it’s a favorite lunchtime stop of the beach police) looking for home-cooked food, and tourists looking to try something locally unique like Mama’s oxtail soup and beef stoba (stew).

El Mexicano Aruba

Located on Palm Beach Road, the owners, a Mexican father-and-son duo, offer a variety of Mexican wraps and tacos. This is one of the busiest late-night trucks on the island.

Rikuras

This food stand is situated in the middle of a neighborhood in the area of Paradera on the road that runs between Oranjestad and Paradera.  Owned and operated by an Aruban family and located right next to their home, Rikuras is open most nights.  The house sausage platters—Chori-Papa and Salchi-Papa—are popular, along with the true gut-buster, the Picado, which has a little bit of everything.

Piet's Super Truck/ Truck di Piet 

This truck’s lomito (Argentinean tenderloin) wrap with garlic sauce is an island favorite and a hit with the late-night revelers.

Caribbean Burger

Located in the parking lot of a small strip mall at Shaba, this truck features Venezuelan temptations like the arepa, along with burgers served with the owner’s secret family sauce.  Get there early—it closes at midnight.

Candela Grill 

My very first food truck experience in Aruba was at this food truck that’s parked nightly in front of Royal Plaza in downtown Oranjestad.  It’s also the first place I tried those infamous French fries with peanut sauce!

Eataly

This food truck brings the best of authentic Italian street food to Aruba, serving traditional Italian dishes including lasagna and cannelloni made with homemade pasta and sauces passed down from the owner's family, along with panini that transport your taste buds to the streets of Milan and back.

Participating Food Trucks at the Food Truck Festival

  • El Mexicano 
  • Candela 
  • Chalo Burger
  • Poffertjes van Pofferdorie 
  • Nos Local Snack Truck
  • Eataly 
  • Truck Di Piet
  • The Little One 

Beer Tents:

  • Balashi Beer
  • Bro's and Beers 
  • Craft Beer Lovers Aruba 
  • Craft Aruba

The Food Truck Festival will take place on April 29th and 30th from 7 to 11 PM. More information can be found on https://www.facebook.com/EatLocalAruba/. 

Bon appetit! 

About the blogger: Taylor Escobedo
Chicago native Taylor Escobedo, a craft beer educator and senior sales manager for craft beer and bourbon distributor Bourbon Express, is a graduate of the International School of Aruba. He continued his university studies in Holland and Spain. He combines his passion for travel with exploring the local street food and beer culture wherever he goes.