Food of Trinidad!
I went on a trip to Trinidad this break and was able to try some authentic street food and fruits while I was there. A little background on Trinidad:
-Trinidad is a diverse mixture of Indian, African, British, Portuguese, and Spanish cultures. This is shown in the food in that all the cuisines are somewhat mixed together.
- There is a LARGE Indian community in Trinidad. This made me super excited to try new Indian style food.
Trinidad was originally a large agricultural city, with crops like sugar cane,grapefruit, rice, cocoa and bananas. These plants also grow naturally in the rain forests as well. During our hikes we picked mangoes,cocoa pods and a fruit called Portugal off trees and ate them as snacks along our way. Portugal looks like a lime on the outside, but tastes like a fragrant orange/mangosteen mixed together. During our hike up to Mount Tamana we stumbled upon a nutmeg tree and smelled the spiciness of the seed. We also found cocoa trees and split upon a mature yellow cocoa pod. We sucked on the seeds and sucked the sweet and tart white pulp off the seeds. Rhut loved them so much he held onto the pod and ate them while we hiked up.
We also tried their street food. On our way back from Paria Bay we stopped by Maracas Bay to try the famous Bake and Shark- well Bake and Cheese for us vegetarians. Unfortunately I was so excited and hungry, I forgot to take a picture. :-( Basically its a pita-like bread filled with raw cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and an assortment of sauces you can pick. I added a sweet tamarind sauce, garlic sauce, and spicy hot pepper sauce to mine. It was AMAZING, I still think about it now and drool. I must find a way to make it here!
After our Mount Tamana hike, Emile took us to get traditional roti and a roti stall in St. James, the Edison Little India of Trinidad. The woman made the roti in front of us and filled it with a curried mashed potato mixture and a green pepper sauce. the aloo roti looks like a mini burrito but tastes oh so Indian. The roti is a mixture of rotlie and naan- soft and chewy.I ate one, while Rhut ate 1.75 - he kept eating until he couldn’t eat no more.
Out last street food stop was after our Pitch Lake tour.We stopped at the South Oropouche junction to try the kachori, doubles, aloo pie, baigan, saheena, and Solo sodas. We were as gluttonous as anyone could get. The kachori was very different from the traditional kachori that I know of. Trinidad’s version of kachori is a hush puppy made of chicpea flour cut in half and filled with curried chickpea and various chutneys. The baigan was by far my favorite. Baigan is eggplant coated in chickpea flour and fried. I usually hate the texture of eggplant, but this was crispy and crunchy. Saheena reminded me of normal methi na bhajia- except instead of fenugreek leaves they use taro leaves (or dasheen as they call it). Once we were loaded with good food we left with our bellies protruding while we tried fighting off the itis as we drove back home. Rhut lost.
All this food over the week cost us $15 US dollars for the both of us! Rhut and I were so surprised since most of the restaurants in Trinidad are SUPER expensive. We went to our hotel’s restaurant and were charged $304 TT Dollars (60 dollars) for just soup and pasta. The service was poor on top of that. I would suggest if you ever visit Trinidad, skip the restaurants and hit up the streets- it’s worth it.