Those of you who lived or still live in Curacao must know this simple dish sold at Chinese restaurants and take outs all over the island. The Sate ku Batata is loved by all Curacao islanders alike, and can be enjoyed either as a snack or as a full meal, depending on your appetite of course.
It is not clear where this iconic island dish originated from. Some have suggested that this dish can be traced back to immigrants from Indonesia who moved to Curacao via Suriname, but there is no exact written historical evidence to support this claim.
What is Sate ku Batata?
The sate ku batata consists of a satay (wooden skewer with pieces of chicken or pork), which is either deep fried or grilled, and deep fried potato wedges which have been boiled prior to being fried. A thick brown gravy like Chinese sauce is spooned over the fried potatoes and meat skewer, then topped with a diced onion and hot pepper vinaigrette. I grew up with the Sate ku Batata being served in plain white paper wrapping which was then packed in a small brown paper bag for take away. However, nowadays the dish is served in styrofoam food containers for take away, which are in the process of being banned for obvious environmental hazards. The next step in the Sate ku Batata evolution will obviously be the transition to a more environmentally friendly kind of packaging.
The Sate ku Batata is not your most healthy take out option. I can’t deny. Fried in lard with it’s dose of MSG and cornstarch in the sauce, health advocates would certainly warn against enjoying one of these treats. But then again, if eaten in moderation the Sate ku Batata can for ever remain the delicious snack loved by all Curacao islanders alike.
My top 3 Sate ku Batata takeouts
I sampled a few Sate ku Batata’s from my favourite Chinese take out joints, and came up with my top 3 list. I made sure to order the smallest portion of each takeout and I also chose for my meat to be chicken and not pork. It is important to mention that I personally chose not to top my dishes with mayonaise and ketchup, as I of the opinion that these condiments are not traditionally used in Asian cuisine. So let’s start the review!
#1 New Century
Price: NAFL 7.00
Waiting time: 12 minutes
Portion size: It’s a decent potion, but not as large as the portion I ordered from Sun Lee.
This Chinese takeout joint is located at Caracasbaaiweg opposite to Caribbean Cargo Services. The potato wedges were very crispy and golden brown. There was a decent amount of sauce at the bottom of the dish, although the potato wedges were not drowning in the sauce. However, for the ones who adore sogginess, the wedges at the bottom were definitely drenched. The sauce is well seasoned with a light curry flavour. It’s also important to mention that there was soy soure separately spooned over the wedges. The color of the sauce leaned more towards a yellowish tone compared to the other two options, which were much darker in color. The chicken was served on a skewer and was incredibly succulent. I enjoyed the crispiness on the outside and the juiciness on the inside of the chicken. The pepper garnish, also known as ‘pika’ among the locals, was surprisingly different than the traditional garnish. Namely, it was made of white cabbage instead of onions. Although the ‘pika’ was nicely flavoured, it is definitely on the mild side.
#2 Sun Caribe
Price: NAFL 8.50
Waiting time: 25 minutes
Portion size: It was a relatively small portion compared to the other dishes I’ve tested
This Chinese takeout joint is located at Grebeliniweg/Heelsumstraat. The potato wedges were not very crispy and were a little on the dry side. I was missing the crisp edges of the potato wedges. Nonetheless, the sauce scored very high, as it was decently spiced and stimulated the tastebuds in combination with the pepper garnish. The sauce was slightly orange-y brown, probably from a mix with soy sauce. The pepper garnish was traditionally onion-based and was relatively mild. It was definitely not a hot ‘pika’, which is perfect for people who don’t enjoy their mouths being on fire. In comparison with New Century, the chicken was not skewered, but was separately plated on top of the potato wedges. Although the chicken was a little dry for my taste, it was nonetheless crunchy and amazingly spiced.
#3 Sun Lee
Price: NAFL 8.00
Waiting time: 10 minutes
Portion size: it’s a considerably large portion which can easily fill 2 people if you’re not a big eater
This Chinese takeout joint is located at Nijmegenstraat/Rotterdamweg in Marie Pompoen. The potato wedges were the perfect blend of soggy and crispy, which is something I value a lot in this dish. Although the wedges are not submerged in the sauce, there’s a decent amount spooned over the wedges. The sauce is not very spicy or seasoned, but is a little on the mild side. It’s important to mention that there is soy sauce spooned over this dish, besides from the sauce. Similar to New Century’s dish, the chicken is skewered and is very crispy. The difference here is that the chicken is battered prior to frying, which gives it that extra crunchy texture. The pepper garnish is nicely flavoured and spicy and made of finely chopped onions. From the looks of the onions they are chopped by hand (and not machine). Overall this was good value for money.
I really enjoyed reviewing one of my favourite dishes of the island. If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to comment and share. Thanks for reading!
This test was made possible by Caribex Shipping.