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A Tio Lobo's Story-Croquettes and bitterballen

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

Curacao is filled with so many types of delicious food, being and island with so many different cultures I truly feel I live in a melting pot. Today I'm going to introduce to you a snack I grew up on. Brace yourself this post might make you hungry!

In Curacao, croquettes and bitterballen are a staple snack at any party, in between meals and even for breakfast! Croquettes are a cylinder shaped snack made from meat or any other fillings dipped in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Bitterballen are similar but are large round balls, served with mustard as well, you will more often see this eaten at parties. On the island we are accustomed to seeing traditional Dutch croquettes, often made from beef and served with mustard, they can also be eaten in between two slices of bread and you have a sandwich!

Chef Faizel Lobo, founder of Tio Lobo's snacks, wanted to add a twist to the traditional croquettes and bitterballen. He wanted more flavors and always wondered why no one made a "Kabritu" goat meat one, especially since goat meat is easily available on the island. This all dawned on him while he was working at prestigious culinary events. Ideas always come when you least expect them and that is exactly what happened here.

Chef Faizel was on a mission to develop the first goat meat croquette. One idea lead to another and through trial and error he came up with what he thought was the perfect goat meat bitterballen. He then had a breakthrough and developed a line of snacks for everyones taste buds. Tuna and shrimp for those seafood lovers, for the vegetarians there is a pumpkin and cheese one, as well as a beet and truffle one. Karni stoba, translated is beef stew, is a traditional stew in Curacao. Authentic, homemade, and a tasteful spin on a traditional snack, is what he created, but that was just half the battle now he needed packaging. Hiring a designer for the packaging was step one, but he was in a pickle, as he still didn't have a name. I often say living in Curacao is best compared to "small town" living, we all know each other, you can't even go to the grocery store without meeting someone you know. Its very common for a child to call anyone older then them "tio" (uncle) or "tanchi" (aunty) in papiamentu. Just like that the name "Tio Lobo's" was born.

Now all of you must be wondering why is an artist writing about croquettes and bitterballen in her blog? To tell you the truth, I saw Tio Lobo's snacks on instagram during lockdown, and then spotted them in the grocery store, I actually fell in love with the packaging and the fact that they had tuna (I love tuna). I messaged Chef Faizel and asked if he wanted to do a collaboration with me, he agreed, but I think the icing on the cake was when he said, "I love your art". That always makes me smile. We made an appointment to meet and he dropped off the products as well. Which we tried on the weekend. They are really good if you haven't tried them yet, the tuna one was my personal favorite, but none of what we fried lasted very long on the plate. I personally think that Chef Faizel has made "gourmet" snacks for everyone to enjoy.

If you are in Curacao grab some delicious Tio Lobo's Snacks at the grocery store in the frozen section. They are also available at some restaurants, so ask for them by name. They are also available by delivery. Call Tio Lobo's +5999-6671915

Follow Tio Lobo's on instagram @tiolobos to see all his snacks and if I know Chef Faizel there will be many more different varieties soon!

If you are a local business/small business , and would like to collaborate with me for a blog post just send me an email

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