Traveling anywhere in the world today, in my book, means a constant, frustrating search for authenticity. It is easier than ever to fall into the traps of non-local food, or “local” food generated for tourists. The gastronomic traveler always wants to avoid these, always wants to find instead the equivalent of what the local mamas are cooking at home, which usually ain’t easy.
One of the most interesting dishes at the market, and on the island, is giambo (ghee-YOM-bo), reminiscent in some ways of our famous Louisiana gumbo. Both the Curaçao and Louisiana dishes contain okra, obviously derived in both cases from the Bantu name for okra (ki ngombo) in West Africa, okra’s home. But it seems to me that the two “gumbos” evolved separately.