Caption: Chef Khalid Mohammed's eclectic offerings at Chaud make it one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago. // 2014 © Trinidad and Tobago Tourism
Feature image (above): To get a taste of local street food, travelers might visit Trinidad's Port of Spain. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Trinidad and Tobago has long been known for its exotic birds, annual Carnival party and unspoiled beaches. It is also rapidly emerging as one of the hottest foodie destinations in the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago’s food scene is distinct for many reasons. After centuries of migration, Indian, West African, Chinese, Middle Eastern and European flavors have combined here into a culinary stew unlike any other. Street food is as revered as fine dining, and the options are endless.
Doubles (a sandwich consisting of flat bread filled with curried chickpeas), roti (unleavened flat bread), corn soup and soursop juice (a drink made from the fruit of Annona muricata trees) are just a few of the indigenous street foods visitors can savor. “Trinis” — as locals refer to themselves — also love their dishes fiery; moruga scorpion, the hottest pepper in the world, is originally from there.
The best way to experience Trinbagonian cuisine is to dive in and sample it all, from the markets to the white linen tablecloths. Here is an overview of best options for upscale dining and street food.
Trinis line up early in the morning for Ali's Doubles, a breakfast favorite. Chickpeas, chutney, secret sauce and spices inside bara (fried dough) are what traditionally makes up a double, but Ali's roadside shop in Barataria is famous for its secret recipe that has been handed down for 50 years.
Chaud is the best fine dining restaurant in Trinidad and Tobago. Chef Khalid Mohammed creates magic without pretense. The elegant setting is a French colonial home, and the renowned dishes of stewed oxtail and callaloo fondue always impress. Marie Clark of the essential food lover’s guide TriniChow.com recommends Sunday lunch at Chaud’s as a great way to taste a wide variety of foods and enjoy the local scene.
A cooking class is a great way to bring home a scrumptious piece of the vacation. Wendy Rahamut, known as Trinidad and Tobago’s cooking star, gives energetic and interactive classes out of her home. For a traditional cooking school experience, visitors can try Fanatic Kitchen Studio, which offers a rotating group of teachers and classes for all ages.
Tobago's ode to Amerindian history is Kalina, an elegant restaurant in Magdalena Grand Beach Resort. Focused on local produce and artisanship, dishes such as one with Tobago curry and coconut vegetables are perfection.
Lighthouse Restaurant at Crews Inn
The views alone of the yachts in the harbor make the lovely day trip to Lighthouse Restaurant at Crews Inn worth it. Located at Chaguaramas on Trinidad, the restaurant serves stuffed chicken leg and thigh with garbanzo beans, grilled masala eggplant and steamed basmati rice, and all are known to delight the senses.
San Antonio Market
Although Savannah Night Market in Port of Spain offers a convenient way to taste street food delicacies, the San Antonio Green Market in Santa Cruz is where the locals go — it's all about the food and the lush atmosphere. While shopping for local produce, sample the chocolate treats such as cocoa tea and cocoa ice cream.
The Youthful Vegan
A newcomer on the scene that is creating quite a buzz, this casual cafe serves vegan food. Locals love it, and each vegan creation has a Trini twist.