Trini Street Food

There are a lot of things I love about Trinidad, but the street food is definitely up there in the Top Three. It’s a vegan heaven AND it’s really cheap.

The most well known one is doubles. These cost $5TT (the equivalent of 50p in English money) and you can find them anywhere at pretty much any time of day/night. They consist of two things called ‘bara’ which look kind of like mini pancakes, but they’re basically fried dough, and then ‘channa’ between them. Channa is curried chickpeas.

If you see a vendor by the road with a big wooden box and people standing around eating something messily with their hands off a piece of greaseproof paper, it’s probably a doubles vendor.

When you go up to them, tell them how many you want and how hot you want the pepper (no pepper, slight, medium or heavy), e.g. “Can I get two slight?”. If you ask for more than one, they’ll know it’s for takeaway, but if you want to eat there, just order them one at a time. Eat the first one (don’t pay yet) next to the vendor, and then tell them when you want another one and then pay when you’ve had enough.

By the way, ‘slight’ pepper in Trinidad is the equivalent of ‘a lot of pepper’ in England.

Personally if I eat three doubles, that’s equal to a whole meal, and one is a snack. This is what it looks like:

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The second most common street snack in Trinidad is probably pie. Pie in Trinidad not how I knew pie in England at all. It’s oval shaped but is also made from some kind of fried dough, and also costs $5TT, and is also sold out of a big wooden box. Pies can come with different fillings, and the most common type is aloo pie which has a potato filling. Some people sell cheese pies, beef pies and any type of other ones they feel like making.

They cut it open and you can have channa in it if you want (at no extra cost), and again you need to tell them how much pepper you want.

People who sell pie often also sell saheena which also has some kind of fried dough (surprise surprise), also costs $5TT, also can have channa added to it, and also requires you to choose an amount of pepper. Saheena is a bit more crispy than pies and doubles, and the dough contains bahji (spinach). I love it.

Something that’s seen less often on the street is pholourie. It tends to be found more in little huts or roadside shops. It’s basically (guess what…) fried dough, but in little balls, and they put it in a bag with sauce and then you shake it around so the sauce spreads over all the pholourie. Often they have a choice of sauces so you can pick one or choose to combine them.

You get about 5 balls for $1TT so when you order it, you need to tell them how many dollars worth you want, e.g. “Can I get a 3 dollar bag of pholourie?”. I would recommend getting between two and four dollars worth. This is a $4 bag I had:

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In the night or at events, the main food available is fried chicken and chips, and corn soup. The corn soup is vegan and costs around $20TT (£2) for a big cup. Apart from corn, it contains dumplings made of flour, and some other random things like carrot and potato.

All this fried dough might sound unhealthy, but at least the snacks are freshly made by the vendor that morning so it’s better than Western fast food, and the channa is healthy. The pholourie makes me feel a bit bloated etc. but the other things don’t make me feel too unhealthy. It’s just great being able to eat such quick, cheap vegan snacks wherever you go on the island!

 

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