Cuisine in Trinidad and Tobago is an expression of the twin island’s multi-ethnic legacy and the people’s passion for food. With roots in Spanish, French, British, Amerindian, African, Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and Portuguese traditions, Trinidad & Tobago cooking offers some of the richest and most exciting dining experiences in the Caribbean.
The variety of dishes range from traditional African stews to Creole traditions like oxtail and cowheel soup, and fabulous East Indian curries and breads. Popular local favourites include doubles, pelau, macaroni pie, and callaloo and crab, and buljol.
Still other foods that can be found include: bake and shark, pepper sauce, fruit chows, souse, chip-chip, conch and wild meat.
To round out this country’s offerings there are all kinds of tropical fruits such as coconut, mango, guava, West Indian cherry, star fruit, pineapple, soursop, and papaya (to name but a few).
From fine dining restaurants to street food, Trinidad & Tobago takes food lovers on a culinary adventure.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO’S POPULAR MENU ITEMS INCLUDE:
Barra: small East Indian soft shell fried bread made from flour, split peas and turmeric.
Benne balls: a confection made of sesame seeds.
Buljol: served at room temperature, this shredded salted codfish and vegetable salad, seasoned with pepper, onions, and tomatoes gets its name from the French brule, meaning burnt and geule, slang for mouth. Traditionally, buljol is served for breakfast or brunch.
Callaloo: a thick soup of dasheen leaves, okra and other ingredients which may include crab, coconut milk, lobster, salted meats, chile peppers, and other seasonings.
Doubles: A popular East Indian snack consisting of a soft, fried flour-and-split pea shell (Barra) filled with curried chick peas.
Float: a type of fry bake made with yeast, making the dough swell when it is frying and “float” to the top.
Pastelles: One of the Christmas delights in Trinidad & Tobago, a spiced meat cornmeal pie filled with raisins, olives and other ingredients then wrapped and steamed (or boiled) in banana leaves.
Pelau: A dish that exemplifies Trinidadian cuisine as it is an admixture of various cooking styles – a variation of East Indian pilau, the browning of the meat in sugar is an African tradition, and ketchup is a New World addition (though its basis in tomato chutney was likely from British India via England). Pelau is a one-pot stew of rice, pigeon peas and chicken or beef. The unique flavour comes from searing the meat in caramelised sugar then simmering with rice, coconut milk and chickpeas.
Pholourie: small balls of split pea flour deep-fried and served in a thin sweet chutney sauce (usually mango or tamarind).
Roti: Best described as a curry wrap, Trinidad roti is Indian flat bread made of split peas, and served with hot, curried meats, vegetables or seafood.
Shark and Bake: A sandwich made of lightly battered and seasoned shark fillets wrapped in a fried bread or bake then topped with a choice of condiments, including tamarind, cilantro, congo peppers, and garlic.