“Ah hungry! Just put food on de table!”
First Capital Apartments is nestled in the hills of St. Joseph – the first capital of Trinidad and Tobago. Stepping away from the sun, sea and sand, our beautiful island holds a host of multi-cultural experiences for those willing to seek them out.
Our cuisine for example is just one of the many outlets from which our rich history, our diverse and magnificent history can be experienced. From the purest of indigenous roots, to the defiant African slaves; from the Spanish, Dutch and British colonial settlers, to the innovative Indian, Chinese and Portuguese indentured laborers – our society holds within it a rich cornucopia of hybridized culture which you can experience!
As we in T&T like to say, “All ah we is one family”.
So come, relax & sit at our table. First Capital Apartments is here to break down some of our favorite food finds, just minutes away from our cozy apartments. Now’s not the time to count calories because here’s our guide to the perfect Trini breakfast, lunch and dinner.
1. Breakfast: T&T Doubles
Doubles is by far one of the most popular street foods in Trinidad and Tobago. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – you name the time of day and we guarantee that there will be a crowd of people munching away at some hot, tasty doubles.
A Bit of History: The origin of this popular delicacy has been disputed over many decades in T&T. However, the coining of the term “doubles” has been traced back to 1937. Emamoul Deen and his wife Rasulan of Princes Town started a business in 1936 selling fried channa (chick peas). This soon evolved into curried channa with chutney (a sweet-spicy sauce). He then introduced a single bara (fried dough) with the curried channa. His customers would ask him to “double-up” on the bara hence the name “doubles” evolved and Deen’s doubles became the pioneering brand.
Where can I find it? The nearest and by far the most popular location in northern Trinidad is the Curepe Junction, a major transportation hub, just minutes from First Capital Apartments. There you will find a range of street vendors to pick from – we recommend going with whichever vendor has the biggest crowd! [Click the Map to get to the Navigation!]
How much will it cost? One doubles will run you about $5.00 TTD and most adults eat about two. The vendors usually only accept local currency – so stock up on some change! Generally there is an “eat first, pay later” system. The vendors will keep track of how many you eat, but more often than now there is a trust that customers will pay for what they’ve eaten.
Tips for your Trini Experience: There is a line for “take away” and a separate section for those who wish to eat “on the spot”. We recommend for the true Trini experience you try having one “on the spot” with “slight pepper” This means that you’ll have all the toppings, including a little pepper which will add just the right about of “kick”!
2. Lunch: Trinidadian Roti
Buss Up Shut, Dhal Puri, Curried Goat, Pumpkin and Tomato Chokha – these may sound like gibberish but any true Trini will know what it means. Lunch-time on our sunny Caribbean paradise is usually signaled by two things: (i) blazing, hot twelve o’clock sun and (ii) the smooth, mouth-watering aroma of a bubbling pot of curried channa and aloo (chick peas and potato).
A Bit of History: Hailing from the another wave of indentured laborers, roti is a staple of Indian cuisine on the island and “roti shops” are a cornerstone of community life. Usually run in a “mom and pop” style, these shops sometimes have take-away options, or homey dining areas where Trinbagonians can sit for a quick meal.
In the Caribbean, roti is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to various curries and stews. The traditional way of eating roti is to break the roti by hand, using it to sop up sauce and pieces of meat from the curry.
The “wrap roti” is the commercialization of roti and curry together as a fast-food or street-food item in the Caribbean. This wrap form of roti originated in southern Trinidad. It was first created in the mid-1940s in San Fernando. The wrap was convenient as the meal could be eaten faster and while on the go, as well as keeping one’s hands from getting dirty. In Trinidad and Tobago, various wrapped roti are served, including chicken, conch, goat, beef and shrimp. Vegetables can also be added including potato, pumpkin and spinach as well a variety of local condiments; pepper sauce (hot sauce) and mango chutney being the most popular.
Where can I find it? Just 8 minutes away from First Capital Apartments you will find a well known roti shop called “Juman’s Roti Shop”. It is located in the nearby community of Curepe, where many locals walk from their homes to purchase roti. Some even line up before the store opens but we recon if you call in and place your order, you’re sure to get your serving. [Click the Map to get to the Navigation!]
How much will it cost? Juman’s offers a wide range of options from about $35.00 TTD and up. The cost will depend on the type of roti you are ordering, the filling (type of meat) and the size of portion. All prices are listed as you enter so no need to worry.
Tips for your Trini Experience: Parking on the street may be a bit crowded around lunch time so we recommend you get a driver to drop you at the door and park offsite. As an alternative, you can park on any of the adjoining streets and take a stroll!
Here’s an added tip – check out this video for other roti shops you can try! Juman’s is even on the list. Have an adventure, you’ll be surprised just how many roti shops there are in Trinidad.
3. Dinner: Trinidadian Roast Pork
Trinidad Roast Pork also known as ‘Crispy Skin Pork’ or ‘Trinidad Chinese Roast Pork’ has its roots in (you guessed it!) the coming of Chinese indentured laborers to the island.
A Bit of History: The first “shipment” of 192 Chinese immigrants arrived in Trinidad on a ship named Fortitude on October 12, 1806. Since then there have been four different waves of Chinese Immigrants both during and after slavery was abolished. The Chinese immigrants forged their legacy and became successful butchers, shopkeepers, carpenters and market gardeners. They brought with them their customs, traditions, games, religion and artifacts.
As with all Trinbagonian culture, over the decades, many customs have become hybridized as different cultures intermingle and evolve. This has led to the creation of Trini-Chinese cuisine in the form of golden, crispy, bubbling, buttery roast pork. Do you need any more convincing?
Where can I find it? Just 10 minutes away from First Capital Apartments you will find a small establishment called “Quan Kep’s Pork Shed“. The business hails from Princes Town, south of Trinidad and in recent years has established a small satellite location near the Grand Bazaar Shopping Mall. [Click the Map to get to the Navigation!]
How much will it cost? Their most popular dish is the “roast pork sandwich” which is $20.00 TTD however they also offer fries with their roast pork, Trinidadian Geera Pork, Trinidadian Pudding, Pork Wantons and Trinidadian Chinese-Style Chicken. Other items range from $20.00-$45.00 TTD and they offer both cash and debit/credit card payment options – so get a bit of everything!
Tips for your Trini Experience: Make sure to go on weekends (Fridays or Saturdays) as they only open on during the evening time We recommend that you go at about 7:00pm and have some dinner! If you check the contact information on their Facebook page (linked above) you can call in your order before hand, or simply order when you arrive. The wait is only about 10-15 minutes depending on the crowd.
And there you have it – breakfast, lunch and dinner courtesy First Capital Apartments. Of course these are just a few local options for you – so stay tuned to our blog for more food finds just for you!
If you need our help renting a vehicle, please don’t hesitate to ask. We know a few reliable drivers who’ll be happy to show you around our nearby food hubs.