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Where to Eat During Trinidad CarnivalFebruary 16, 2016 By: Joe Pike
|Cooks along Queens Park Savannah in Trinidad serve up everything from roasted chicken to the national favorite, Doubles. // Photo by Joe Pike|
If you want to be able to attend as many parties as you can during your time at Trinidad Carnival, you have to remember that food is your friend, whether your body knows that or not.
Sometimes a heavy beer or a tasty Puncheon rum drink along with a heavy dose of music-induced adrenaline can mask the fact that you are actually hungry.
Travel Agent recently returned from our coverage of the Trinidad Carnival, a roughly week-long party in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and learned that constantly eating, along with naps whenever you can take them and plenty of water, is essential to staying fully charged right through Carnival Tuesday.
And eating in Trinidad is not difficult to do.
Dining in Trinidad
One of the beautiful qualities of Trinidad is its diversity, as there is a unique blend of Indian, Syrian and Chinese cultures present within the destination. And all of the nationalities' special marks on Trinidad can be found within the dining, the traditions and the people. In fact, one of Trinidad's most popular delicacies, Doubles, has its origins in India as Channa Batura.
Doubles is a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a sandwich made with two bara (flat fried bread) filled with channa (curried chick peas). These little guys are messy as heck, so be sure to load up on napkins, but boy is it worth the clean up and you'd be surprised how well a hot mess of chick peas can go with a local Carib beer. Topped with either mango, shadon beni, cucumber, coconut, tamarind, or extra pepper sauce, this delicacy is the most popular fast food in Trinidad and Tobago.
|Try the corn soup at Betty's in Trinidad. // Photo by Joe Pike|
A surprisingly impressive spot to grab a quick double is actually right outside Trinidad's Piarco International Airport. If you arrive in Trinidad and want to get some food in your stomach before heading to the hotel, there is a Doubles stand to the left of the main exit of the airport. They are delicious and they are cheap, going for only $1 each.
For an option a little closer to the hotels, head to Queens Park Savannah as the "street food" here consists of some delicious Doubles and corn soup. We ate at Betty's and loved both. Make sure to get the small corn soup, as the large is way too big for an appetizer, but that's never a bad problem to have. Other restaurants on the strip offer everything from Doubles to roasted chicken.
Bakes and Sharks
|Asha's Bake 'N' Shark in Maracas Bay. // Photo by Joe Pike|
Bake and Sharks are popular hangouts in Trinidad where locals gather to grab a bite of some fried flatbread filled with fried pieces of shark meat and various other ingredients and sauces.
The most popular one is Richard's Bake and Shark in Maracas Bay. The fish sandwich at Richard's is constantly hailed as being one of the best in all of the Caribbean.
We ate at nearby Asha's Bake 'N' Shark, which was also pretty delicious. Everything in Trinidad, especially when you get outside of the hotels, is very affordable, especially if you're coming from the Northeast, where a $3 beer or a $5 sandwich is hard to come by.
We also dined at a very impressive Chinese restaurant, Town, which is a fairly new trendy hangout with dim lights and a lot of blacks and bright greens. Get the beef and broccoli and the spring rolls. There is also a vast selection of fine wines here. We enjoyed the Pinot Noir we sipped with our meal.
Another Indian influence commonly served in Trinidad is the Roti. A great place for this is Shiann's Roti Shop. This place gets some flak for the slow service sometimes, but we thought the food was great. We had the shrimp Roti and it was very tasty. We thought the portions were great. This or any Roti was also a smart sandwich to eat before a day of drinking at the Soca Brainwash 2016. Eating something heavy that you know will absorb some alcohol is also a smart way to last through the night.
For Watching Sports
Travel Agent's coverage of Trinidad's Carnival happened to overlap with one of America's biggest parties, the Super Bowl. The best place to watch this was at Trotters, which comes the closest to resembling an American sports bar of any bar we attended. There are TVs everywhere and all the sports food fixings, from wings to nachos.
Fast food, namely KFC, is surprisingly delicious here. It is far better than the KFCs in the United States. The chicken is fresh and the seasoning is
|Travel Agent's Joe Pike sips on a local Stag beer during his onsite coverage of Trinidad Carnival.|
different. The spicy chicken was really tasty. Another writer on our trip also told us the Pizza Hut there was the best Pizza Hut she's ever had, namely because it was a bit more buttery than typical Pizza Hut slices.
The Local Brews
Ok, so I have to admit that I am not a terribly huge fan of the Caribbean beer, Carib, anywhere else in the region other than the islands it's brewed on, Trinidad, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada. On every other island it's imported to, it has this kind of funky Tequila-like aftertaste, in my opinion.
Stag is also a great option if you're a fan of local beer. It's got a bitter aftertaste and is a tad heavier than Carib. It also packs a little bit more of a punch compared to Carib. I preferred a Stag when we were having dinner and a Carib when we needed to pace ourselves for a long day or night…or morning.
As far as mixed drinks go, you have to at least try any drink that includes Puncheon rum, a high proof heavy-type rum. Have one of these to get your night started then drink something a bit lighter to follow. Again, everything you do during Carnival should not only be about having fun at the event you are at, but also about being able to pace yourself for the next party.
Looking for a Good Driver / Tour Guide?
If you're looking for a reliable and knowledgeable tour guide on the ground in Trinidad, we were quite impressed with Gerald "Mr. Nick" Nicholas of Sensational Tours and Transport. He accompanied us with his own driver while he sat in the passenger seat pointing out historical facts and notable landmarks. He also seemed to know everyone in Trinidad, and those kinds of people are usually incredible assets for any vacation. Agents looking to book Sensational Tours and Transport should e-mail [email protected].