The Bonairian cuisine is strongly influenced by the different peoples who have been drawn to the island. Indians, Spaniards, Dutch and African slaves all brought their own ingredients and recipes to Bonaire. In this way a unique kitchen could arise. The kushina krioyo (kuminda krioya) or creole cuisine determines the way of cooking on Bonaire.
The Bonairean society now has more than seventy different nationalities from all corners of the world and that also translates into local cuisine. Cassava, Madame Jeanette pepper, tomato, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, rice, onion, sugar cane, yams, carob beans, red beans, black beans, kidney beans, peas, raisins, garlic, pimento and coconut are ingredients frequently used in the Bonairian kitchen.
Little rain falls in the steppe climate of Bonaire. As a result, arable farming or cattle breeding on Bonaire is limited. This also has its repercussions for Bonairian cuisine, which therefore has little variety of vegetables. But due to the large number of tourists, the demand for fresh fruit and vegetables is enormous.
Most agricultural crops must therefore be imported. There is a lively trade with Venezuela, daily fresh products mainly come from that South American country. Nowadays, however, greenhouses are being built at various locations on Bonaire where vegetables and fruit are grown.
Plasa Machi Mimi (fish market building) is a building built in the Roman style from 1935 on the quay of Kralendijk. In the past, fish was traded in the picturesque market building, but nowadays Venezuelan merchants trade their merchandise there and there are fresh fruit and vegetables for sale.
The chicken and goat meat that is often used in Bonairian cuisine does not need to be imported. These animals are numerous on the island. Furthermore, the Caribbean Sea that surrounds Bonaire is of course a huge source of delicious fish and molluscs and crustaceans.
In the course of time, dozens of typical Bonairian dishes and recipes have been created such as Antillean ice cream, Antillean spareribs, Antillean crab from the oven, Antillean bean dish, Antillean minced pasties, Antillean fish croquettes, mango rolls, pan bati with kerri kerri, peanut ice cream etc. It is therefore very worthwhile to test the local cuisine on Bonaire. The Bonairians do not say for nothing: ban komé! (let's eat!) or ask: bo tin hamber? (are you hungry?).
Four times a year the event 'Taste of Bonaire' is organized on Bonaire. During this event the Bonairian cuisine with its national and international influences is central and tastings can be enjoyed. They also exhibit different artists and creatives, they make souvenirs from local products such as aloe vera, bags etc. There is plenty of fun and music, so it is highly recommended to visit when you are on the island. The event always has a different theme.
Since 2012, Bonaire has pursued a better policy on agriculture, growing crops and fisheries. Among other things, it looks at the agricultural options available on the diving island. This is to encourage more local products to become available on Bonaire. The diving island is now dependent for the most part for its food supply on import. On Bonaire, however, (native) vegetables and fruit can also be grown. The government wants to encourage the Bonairians to grow vegetables and fruit on a small scale (backyard gardens, hofitos).
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