Trinidad and Tobago is a unique country with a diverse range of cultures and influences. The food here is just as diverse, with dishes from all over the world being represented in Trinidad and Tobago cuisine.
“Trini” food, like that of many other Caribbean nations, is the result of European, Chinese, Indian, African, Latin American and Middle Eastern culinary traditions. This interesting mix results in a diverse gastronomic offering that can only be found in this tropical island nation.
Here are the 10 best Trinidad and Tobago dishes that you have to try!
Doubles is a Trinidad and Tobago street food dish consisting of two flatbreads (baras) filled with curried channa (chickpeas) and various chutneys. It is typically served with tamarind or mango chutney and pepper sauce and is one of the most popular foods in Trinidad and Tobago.
Its widespread availability is largely due to street vendors who serve it starting early in the morning. It’s typically eaten as breakfast or lunch, and some say that it can help cure a hangover after a night of partying.
Emamoll Dee invented Doubles in 1936. In appearance, this dish somewhat resembles Indian Chlo Bhature, a combination of spicy chickpeas with Channa masala and poori (this is a fried bread made with maida flour). On the lovely Caribbean island, these Doubles come in three delicious variations: sweet, spicy, or salty.
The most popular by far is the bell pepper sauce-spiced version, which gets its zesty flavor from Trinidadian chandon deni, coconut, green mango chutney and tamarind, a combination that’s uniquely flavorful and tantalizingly spicy. However, some vendors use chicken stew or curry instead of (or in addition to) the traditional toppings, but many people still prefer the original version without meat.
Trinidad and Tobago’s national dish is callaloo, a soup made with dasheen (taro) leaves, okra, crab, shrimp, pig tail, and other meats. The exact ingredients vary depending on the region and cook, but callaloo is always served with rice and beans or bread. Crab, especially blue crab, is a very popular addition to callaloo but can be left out if desired.
This dish is thought to have originated in Africa, and it was brought to Trinidad by enslaved Africans. Today, it is a staple of Trinidadian cuisine and can be found in restaurants all over the country. Callaloo is usually thick and creamy, with a slightly slimy texture due to the okra. It is typically seasoned with spices such as thyme, garlic, onions, and pepper, and it can be either vegetarian or made with meat.
In Trinidad, Callaloo is considered a side dish. Its name comes from the amaranth leaves (called callaloo) from the West Indies, which can also be replaced by spinach. In Trinidad it is normal to have callaloo on Sundays, at lunchtime, as an accompaniment to dishes such as stewed peas or macaroni pie.
Bake and Shark
Bake and shark is a popular beach food in Trinidad and Tobago, consisting of fried shark meat served in a fried dough pocket (bake). It is usually served with various sauces and toppings, such as tamarind sauce, cucumber relish, mango chutney, and pepper sauce.
This dish was originally created by fishermen who would fry leftover pieces of shark that they couldn’t sell. However, it has since become a popular street food dish, especially among tourists visiting the beaches of Trinidad and Tobago. Bake and shark can be found at many different stands along the island’s coastline.
Bake and Shark is often served as kind of a sandwich with lettuce, coleslaw, tomatoes, mustard, pineapple, garlic chili sauce, ketchup and a coriander-based spread. You basically take a pita bread, open it up, and fill it with lettuce, tomato, and your choice of condiments. Talipa or catfish fillets are nowadays often used instead of shark meat due to constraints on shark fishing, especially the endangered blacktip shark.
Pholourie is a deep-fried snack made from dough and split peas. It is a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago, typically sold by street vendors. Pholourie can be eaten plain or with various dipping sauces, such as tamarind, cucumber, or mango chutney.
This dish originated in India and was brought to Trinidad by Indo-Trinidadian immigrants. Pholourie is typically served as a side dish or appetizer, but it can also be eaten as a main course. The dough is made from flour, water, baking powder, and spices such as cumin and turmeric. The split peas are usually boiled before they are added to the dough, and the entire mixture is deep-fried until it is golden brown.
The center is spongy while the exterior is crunchy, with a spicy kick like most of the island’s street foods. This dish originated from India but was adapted to include local ingredients by the Indian laborers who moved to Trinidad and Tobago during the 19th century. Now, it’s not only popular in Trinidad and Tobago but also in Guyana and Suriname.
Corn soup is a popular Trinidadian dish made with corn, milk, butter, and spices. It is typically served as a side dish or appetizer, but it can also be eaten as a main course. Corn soup is usually thick and creamy, with a slightly sweet flavor.
This dish originated in the United States, but it was brought to Trinidad by American immigrants. Corn soup is typically made with fresh corn, but canned corn can also be used. The corn is cooked in milk and water until it is soft, and then butter and spices are added for flavor. The soup is usually served hot, but it can also be served cold.
Just add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add some light coconut milk over the puree, some black pepper, a bouillon cube and salt. Let it boil for about half an hour so that the flavors blend very well. Enjoy your delicious corn soup!
Gyro (Greek Sandwich)
Gyro is a type of Greek sandwich made with meat, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce wrapped in a pita bread. It is a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago, sold by vendors who typically make it fresh to order.
This dish originated in Greece, but it was brought to Trinidad by Greek immigrants. Gyros are typically made with lamb or chicken, but beef can also be used. The meat is cooked on a rotisserie and then thinly sliced before being placed in the pita bread. Tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce are then added for flavor.
Gyros are prepared in a manner similar to shawarma from the Middle East. To serve, thin slices are carved from the outside edge of the meat roasting on the spit and placed atop a grilled slice of pita bread; next, various pickles, condiments and salads are added to create the wrap
Trini Style Chicken Curry
Chicken curry is a popular Trinidadian dish made with chicken, curry powder, and other spices. It is typically served as a main course, but it can also be eaten as a side dish or appetizer. Chicken curry is usually served with rice and peas, but it can also be served with bread or roti.
This dish originated in India, but it was brought to Trinidad by Indian immigrants. Chicken curry is usually made with boneless chicken, but bone-in chicken can also be used. The chicken is cooked in a curry sauce until it is tender, and then various spices are added for flavor. The final step is to add the rice and peas, which are usually boiled separately before being added to the curry.
Chicken curry is a very popular dish in Trinidad and Tobago, and it is often served at weddings and other special occasions. It is also a popular street food, sold by vendors who typically make it fresh to order.
Crab and Dumplings
Crab and dumplings is a dish that embodies the laid-back and chill atmosphere of Tobago in contrast to Trinidad’s cosmopolitan feel. Once you taste this meal, you’ll likely want to take a long break from any physical activity.
Dishes like crab and dumpings are often eaten by hand, which can get messy. Blue crab is a popular choice for this dish because it absorbs seasonings much better (you can also marinate it overnight). It should be cooked in plenty of coconut milk and curry sauce.
This dish is served with wheat dumplings that have been fried or boiled, with a spicy sauce. It’s a very tasty food, and I highly recommend you try it if you ever find yourself in Tobago. There are several places where crab and dumplings are available, Store Bay beach has various kiosks that prepare an especially delicious version of this dish.
Aloo pie is a type of potato pie that is popular in Trinidad and Tobago. It is made with a dough that is similar to puff pastry, but it is typically filled with curried potato filling. Aloo pies are usually served as a snack or side dish.
The origins of aloo pie are unknown, but it is thought to be of Indian origin. Aloo pies are usually made with potatoes, but other vegetables such as pumpkin can also be used. The potato filling is seasoned with curry powder, turmeric, and other spices. The pies are then deep-fried or baked until they are golden brown.
Aloo pies are usually served plain or with condiments such as tamarind chutney or mint chutney. They can also be eaten with ketchup or hot sauce.
Pastelles are a type of Tamales that are very popular in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a tasty, traditional dish served during Christmas time in Trinidad. Although it may be confused with Mexican Tamales or Hallacas from Venezuela due to its outward appearance, pastelles differ significantly in taste, texture, and ingredients.
They are made with cornmeal, water, and spices, and are usually filled with chicken, beef, or pork. The origins of pastelles are unknown, but they are thought to be of Spanish origin. To cook Pastelles, ground beef must first be seasoned followed by wrapping it in a thin layer of cooked corn flour. The finishing touch is wrapping banana leaves around the mixture before boiling – and voila!
Over time, the pies have evolved to include different flavors to appeal to a wider range of people. For example, you can now find chicken, vegetarian, fish, and soy pastelles. The main ingredient in all the pastelles is corn flour. Even though the recipe has changed over time, some people still consider the traditional filling (chopped beef) to be the only true version.
MORE TRADITIONAL FOOD
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- Traditional Food Of Haiti
- Traditional Dishes of Ecuador
There you have it! Those are 10 of the most popular and delicious dishes that you’ll find in Trinidad and Tobago. So, if you’re ever in the area, make sure to sample some of these amazing foods.
And just to be clear, there are many more delicious dishes to be found on this beautiful Caribbean island. These are just 10 of the most popular ones. So, if you have any other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading! I hope this article has helped you learn a little bit more about the food culture in Trinidad and Tobago. Bon appetite!