Raise your hand if you love street food.
Raise your hand if you love Trinidad.
Now combine street food with Trinidad, and what do you get? An amazing foodie experience!
During my time in Trinidad, I had some cheap, delicious street food. In fact, my itinerary mainly consisted of where to eat and then what to do in between all the eating. That is definitely my kind of itinerary!
But how did I know what to eat and where to eat it? Luckily I had several Trinidadians (or Trinis) to show me where to find the best food on the street. Here are my favorite street foods in Trinidad and where to find them:
What It Is: One cannot talk of Trinidadian cuisine without talking about doubles. Arguably the most popular street food on the island, doubles consists of two fried flat breads called barra filled with seasoned chickpeas, known as channa. You can eat this hot and tasty snack as is or add several toppings, including tamarind, cucumber, mango and extra pepper sauce. Trinis also like to eat their doubles with flavored soft drinks, like Solo Apple J and Solo Banana. My first doubles was a "doubles slight," which means doubles with slight pepper. It's perfect for anyone who likes their food to have a kick without being extra hot.
Where to Eat It: My favorite doubles came from Sauce Doubles on the Southern Main Road just before Curepe Junction. Let me tell you, that place was PACKED. I've never been to a street vendor that has orderly lines on one side and disorderly crowds on the other. The key is to work your way through the crowd with your order ready to go. I ended up eating my doubles on the hood of a car, and it was more than worth it!
What It Is: Depending on where you are, roti can take on various forms. There's sada roti, paratha roti and dhalpuri, to name a few. In Trinidad, the popular street food is dhalpuri wrapped around a curry of your choice. The dhalpuri is first made with split peas that have been boiled, ground and seasoned and is then used as a wrap around the curried filling. Popular fillings include chicken, goat, beef, shrimp and potatoes.
Where to Eat It: I got my curry chicken roti from the Hot & Tasty Bus Route Roti Shop in Arima. It was good! Not the best I've ever had but still a very solid roti. Places I've heard sell great roti are Patraj Roti Shop, Highway Roti Shop and Don's Roti Shop. If anyone makes it to one of these vendors, let me know how it is!
What It Is: Though not as common as other street foods, saheena is just as delicious. It might be the only opportunity to eat some greens when it comes to street food, albeit those greens are fried. Saheena is typically made with dasheen (taro) leaves, flour, split pea powder and other seasonings and is either fried in balls or wheels like the image below. The saheena I ate was topped with channa but many usually eat saheena with mango chutney or tamarind sauce.
Where to Eat It: I don't know if the vendor where I bought my saheena has a name. It's from a white van with a blue tarpaulin top and is located on O'Meara Road in Arima. Just look for the crowd!
BAKE AND SHARK
What It Is: Bake and Shark is another very popular street food in Trinidad, and rightly so. This sandwich consists of fried dough — the "bake" — filled with fried shark meat, hence the term "bake and shark." Similar to a burger or chicken sandwich, you can add all sorts of toppings to this street food, like tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, garlic sauce and a highly addictive cilantro sauce that I cannot recommend enough.
Where to Eat It: The first place anyone says to go when you say you want to eat bake and shark is Richard's at Maracas Beach. It's often packed with long lines, but it is well worth the wait. Crunchy without being greasy and topped with that cilantro goodness, this is the place to go for the best bake and shark.
What It Is: Another street food that is fried and tastes amazing! Are you surprised? Pholourie is basically fried, seasoned balls of dough served with your choice of chutney as a dipping sauce. They seem similar to Indian pakoras, which makes sense given the large percentage of East Indians in Trinidad.
Where to Eat It: Though I'm sure pholouri is prevalent in many places, I tried this street food while at the San Antonio Green Market in Santa Cruz with my friend and her sister. The market sells a mixture of things — from fresh produce to household items to different types of specialty foods.
What It Is: Kurma is both the worst and best kind of snacking food. And guess what? It's fried! Did I mention you shouldn't go to Trinidad on a diet? It's the worst kind of snacking food because it's clearly not healthy and you can easily eat a whole bag of kurma without feeling even a little bit full. Then again it's delicious and relatively light, making it the best kind of snacking food. Though it's another fried piece of dough, what differentiates kurma is that it tends to be hard and crunchy — much harder and crunchier than the other street foods I mentioned — and it's covered in a sugary powder, so it's perfect for anyone with a raging sweet tooth like myself.
Where to Eat It: Anywhere and everywhere. Pick it up from the grocery story, a vendor on the street or, if you're like me, at the airport on your way home! It all tastes great!
I know there are several other Trinidadian street foods that did not make the list, but all the more reason to head back to the Caribbean island soon.