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10 Finger-Licking Trinidadian Foods you have to try

Marika Mendez

Nestled at the end of the Caribbean archipelago, Trinidad and Tobago is known for its rich multicultural history and makeup.  Its population comprises of people from many different ethnicities (for example, European, Syrian, Chinese etc.)  but is primarily made up of people from African and Indian descent. These influences are seen in Trinidad’s culinary landscape and reflect its unique creativity and diversity.

In other words, if you’re a food lover or just excited to try new things, there are many mouth-watering foods to taste when you’re on the island. Here are 10 foods that are a must-have when in Trinidad and Tobago:

Coconut Bake

This can best be described as a type of flatbread that bursts of coconut flavour. The dough is prepared with freshly grated coconut and baked in the oven to golden brown perfection. It is commonly eaten at breakfast time and is famously eaten with saltfish buljol (saltfish, onions, tomatoes, and sometimes even chunks of avocado). Coconut bake puts a revolutionary twist on normal bread and is an “easy to make” breakfast staple in many Trini homes.

Currants Roll

Need something sweet to eat? This is a flaky, pastry treat that is a popular hit in all bakeries. It is a pastry roll, and each layer is comprised of sugar, cinnamon and currants. This delicacy is perfect for teatime, or a treat to sneak in on a cheat day.

Chow

This is a Trini favourite that can be made from a multitude of fruits. Trinidadians love spice and flavour, and this is clearly seen with this innovative fun way to eat fruits. The most popular types of chow are pineapple and mango. These fruits are cut into slices and seasoned with salt, black pepper, chadon beni (cilantro), vinegar and pepper sauce.  A lovely blend of sweet and savoury.

Pholourie

This is an East Indian delicacy that is popular street food in Trinidad. Pholourie can best be described as deep-fried balls made of flour and chickpeas. It is eaten with either a sweet tamarind sauce or tangy chutney sauce, depending on your preference.

 

Corn Soup

Corn soup is absolute favourite street food. It is a well-seasoned soup flavoured with coconut milk and contains dumplings, corn, dumplings, and carrot slices. It is popularly served in ample styrofoam cups and can easily earn the title of a meal in a cup. It is most famously eaten after a party or “fete” to help people to sober up after a night of partying. It is also a common comfort food when someone is sick as well.

Bake and Shark

This is a type of “sandwich” where seasoned fried shark meat is placed between a fried flour “bread”. It is most famously eaten on the beach and is especially famous in Maracas Bay. The sandwich is also typically accompanied by some light veggies and a wide array of sauces (for example, tamarind sauce, chutney, garlic sauce etc.). You can even add slices of pineapple for a sweet tropical flavour. This is a Trini must-have.

 

Crab and dumpling

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If you’re a pescatarian or just a plain lover of seafood, then this dish is definitely for you! This food is particularly popular in Tobago. The dumplings that are served are sizeable and served with blue crab that is cooked in a curry sauce. It’s definitely an experience to eat as the dumplings are soft while juxtaposed with tough crab that has to be bitten into to get to the crab meat.

 

Roti

Photo by Usman Yousaf from Pexels

This is one of Trinidad’s most famous foods. It is an East Indian dish that is probably one of the most delicious “wraps” that you’ll ever eat in your lifetime. The wrap’s skin is made of chickpea and can hold a wide array of ingredients, depending on your preference. The skin wraps other ingredients like curried potato, curried bodi, curried mango (which adds a sweet flavour), and/or pumpkin choka. It also typically includes meat such as chicken, goat, beef, or even shrimp. These wraps are normally huge and can fill you before you’re even halfway finished eating the entire thing. You definitely must have one of these when you’re on the island.

Pelau

This is a top tier “one-pot” meal (all the ingredients are cooked in one pot). This savoury African-influenced dish comprises of rice, pigeon peas, meat (either chicken or beef) all mixed into one delicious pot of flavourful goodness. It is typically served with either coleslaw or a sizeable slice of avocado. This meal is also typically cooked for large informal gatherings like beach “limes”.

 

Doubles

By Grueslayer – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wiki Common

Many argue that doubles are the top street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is cheap to buy, super scrumptious, and definitely an experience to eat as we eat this with our hands. This can best be described as a type of sandwich where well-seasoned chickpeas is served between two fried barras (a type of flatbread). It is also served with a chutney sauce or a tamarind sauce. It is popular to eat this while drinking a famous red Solo (a Sorrel flavoured soft drink) and is a popular breakfast food for the population. Locals like to eat this dish with pepper otherwise known as “doubles with slight” to give it a spicy kick. Doubles vendors are also usually crowded as it is customary to eat as many doubles as you’d like until you’re filled and ready to go. This is also a strongly recommended must-have and is even vegetarian friendly as well since it is a meat-free dish!

Trinidad’s culture is a richly diverse one and you can see it in our many famous dishes. Although this nation faces its unique challenges, food is an area where local cultures blend together to show that many can live together as one.  Whether you’re visiting to party for the Carnival season, or you’re coming for a relaxing vacation, Trinbagonian food is certainly a delicious adventure to embark on. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.

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