Trinidad & Tobago: The Culinary “Melting Pot”
Port of Spain, Trinidad – Trinidad & Tobago might not come immediately to mind as one of the few places in the world that offers extraordinary ethnic cuisines. But then again, “foodies” can travel around the twin island nation and taste the colourful history that has left an influence of Arabic, Spanish, African, Chinese, Polynesian, Thai, East Indian, Cajun, and indigenous Amerindian in the cuisine of Trinidad & Tobago. From India to the Southern Pacific and the British Isles to Africa, Trinidad & Tobago has welcomed settlers from around the globe with their culinary influences in tow. East Indians brought pungent curry spices—Cumin, Masala, Madras and Turmeric. In India, curry means gravy but in Trinidad it has a very specific meaning it’s more than just a spice – it describes the Trinidadian way of life: full of flavour and excitement.
Local ingredients combined with traditional Chinese recipes result in an exotic variation of ‘Chinese food,’ particularly unique when compared to similar dishes served in North America. The island is renowned for Thai and Chinese restaurants that serve Asian dishes flavoured with the specific blends, resulting in a rarity of mixtures. Whether the choice is ‘fancy-dining’ or ‘roadside eating,’ the palate is sure to be delighted with exquisite foreign flavours.
The flair of the French meets the spices of the islands, and the Pelau is born–stewed chicken or beef, cooked down with rice, pigeon peas, pumpkin, brown sugar, onions and garlic, creating a tasty, local mainstay. Corned beef and cabbage, another common, home-styled dish originates from Ireland in the British Isles. For the heartiest of ‘Creole’ dishes, the African influence is apparent in stews, callaloo (a local spinach soup), fish and “provisions” (root/starchy vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, cassava). It is easy to see why the term ‘melting pot’ has its very own meaning on this floating paradise of tropical mountains, multicultural influences and international flavours.
Culinary aficionados can get a “taste” of Trinidad & Tobago at:
Apsara (meaning celestial dancer) features classical Indian cuisine and fine wine, spicy, curry and tandoori food with dishes are prepared by chefs with East Asian herbs, tropical spices and curries. For more information, call 8686237659 or visit www.apsara.co.tt.
Soong’s Great Wall Restaurant & Lounge, Trinidad
Specializing in oriental cuisine, the chefs of Soong’s Great Wall create mouth-watering entrees with succulent seasonings such as herbs and garlic spiced with curry and a touch of coconut milk. For more information, call 8686529225 or visit www.soongsgreatwall.com.
Trinidad & Tobago is located in the south-eastern region of the Caribbean. Trinidad & Tobago, with their careful approach to tourism offers one of the last absolutely unspoiled Caribbean destinations. Trinidad, the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ is home to the world famous Carnival and the birthplace of the steel pan drum. Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean island with secluded beaches, diving with manta rays, quaint villages, and charming hotels. For more information on Trinidad & Tobago call 8008167541.
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