I was very fortunate to visit this tropical Island in the Caribbean recently to do a show called The Rock Pack. We were greeted by high officials and treated like royalty upon our arrival. At the airport, our guide and one of the promoters, Raj Khemlani, introduced us to one of the islands famous delicacies called ‘doubles’. Now, me being a foodie, was totally impressed and intrigued by this delicious street food found in Trinidad and Tobago. The diverse cultures of Indian, Amerindian, European, Portuguese, Spanish, Jewish, Arab and African bring the utmost interesting fare to please the curious palate.
Once we settled into our beautiful rooms at the Hyatt, right on the waterfront as you enter Port of Spain, we decided to go for some authentic Indian dining at Apsara. We called ahead and they stayed open for us, knowing the long journey we had that day. Their hospitality and food was completely outstanding. We performed the following day and were overwhelmed by the people in the audience who seemed to love our music and sing along with us on every song. It was the night before Trinidad’s Independence Day and everyone was in great spirits and ready to party.
Another huge celebration that Trinidad is known for is Carnival. The island is predominantly Christian and people from all over the world come to celebrate Carnival, Trinidadian style with calypso and soca music, beautiful and bright costumes, stick-fighting and limbo competitions, oh and food of course! On the night of our gig, the islanders served us Buss Up Shut Paratha Roti. If you say the name of this food quickly, it resembles what the food looks like. A bust up shirt… We tried the roti with Curry Channa and Aloo. The mixture of flavors and eating with your hands were such a delightful treat.
The next day we decided to head to a beach. Although our hotel was right on the water, there were no immediate beaches at the port. There was however, a constant flow of freighters importing and exporting by the sea visible to us. We decided to go on the North end of the island, through the mountains to get to Maracas Beach. Driving through the mountains can be quite adventurous, especially if you are used to driving on the right side of the road. There was a look out point before reaching the beach where we took pictures looking out into the ocean from above and stands were selling Trinidadian treats and trinkets. I bought Pineapple Chow which is quite spicy.
Who would have thought to add hot peppers, garlic, salt, cilantro and calypso hot sauce to the juicy, sweet fruit? It was Independence Day and the beach was quite full. I ordered a Bake and Shark at one of the stands off the beach. This is another well known street food of Trinidad which actually endangers the sharks due to overfishing to keep enough supply to the island.
Overall, the people of Trinidad were beautiful and gracious hosts to us during our stay. The most southern island of the Caribbean had breathtaking sunsets every night and delightfully distinctive foods. Exploring the rainforest will be at the top of my list for my next visit to this intriguing tropical island.
By Kelly Vohnn