Zaboca Season: A Trini Obsession

All year long the eager people of Trinidad and Tobago wait for it. They dream of it, they yearn for it. Spending every waking moment counting the months until its time; eyeing-down every vendor’s table for those glorious green globes of goodness.

Its creamy, silky texture; its smooth, sultry taste. The perfect addition to any plate of pelau, layered atop warm toast, or on its own – chopped with a dash of salt and black pepper. It’s a wonderful season of parties in the street and birdsongs filling the air. Not to mention the long, lingering stares and instant envy when you realize your neighbour has a tree; or your friend got one from his aunty’s daughter’s friend’s grandmother because they didn’t want it to ‘overripe’ and waste. Don’t even say it – you had a zaboca and let it spoil!? You’re sure to be exiled from the island altogether.

Or the ‘piper’ in town who selling it for $50/lb and despite the instant gripe and ‘cold-sweat’ you get, you still buy it because ‘is whole year ah waiting for dis’! Forget Carnival – it’s Zaboca Season ah living for!

And you know, every Trini is an expert – on EVERYTHING. So be grateful! For once, every tanty, aunty and granny with stop hounding you about the ‘nice young man’ they have to set you up with and instead, for three months out of the year all you will hear is ‘wrap it in guardian paper’ because apparently it will ‘ripe faster’.

All of a sudden everyone’s life revolves around it. Trinis will eat, sleep and breathe Zaboca and if you didn’t know already: YES, Zaboca-Tabanka is a real thing!

Pssst – Check out our post about Trini Slang if you can’t keep up!

It’s a wonderful time of year indeed: Zaboca Season! And if you don’t like it – then you ‘muss be mad’. Bess yuh take ah LIAT plane to another island for the next few months because basically yuh just offend 90% of the island.

The Trini obsession with zaboca, or fondly known by many ‘in foreign’ as avocado, can be described as nothing short of complicated. Quite frankly Trini people fall into some kind of Zaboca Bazodee. Young boys scale walls to ‘teif’ from trees, friends and relatives start to hoard all produce they can find, relationships break up in fiery arguments on the street, people who you never thought would deceive you, start to lie through their teeth!

“Me? I have zaboca? No! That’s just a…really big lime”

Love it or hate it you can’t deny, all around the globe zaboca is a delicacy. It’s simple, yet so complex. The rich yet subtle flavour of our local zaboca makes this the best addition to any meal. Often Trini food can be laden with flavour and spice. Balanced by the zaboca’s  unique, mild flavour, it cools any meal, without overwhelming the taste buds. And let’s not forget its nutritious value!

So next time you’re on our little island look out for a tree. Buy one, borrow one, beg for one. You can’t miss out! Check out this Caribbean Recipe for Zaboca Choka, also known as guacamole or avocado dip (source: Caribbean Pot). Let us know what you think and share recipes in the comments on how you like to eat your zaboca.

Best Street-Food Hubs in Trinidad!

We blogged all about our top food picks near to First Capital Apartments but did you know that Trinidad is home to some major food strips, where the best in street-food can be found?

The island is home to a rich variety of races, creeds and nationalities which bring with it a myriad of cuisine options and hybrids! So without further ado, here are some of the islands most popular food strips and street food hubs where you can enjoy casual night-dining in the cool, crisp Caribbean air.

1. Open-Air Food Court:

Around the world famous Queen’s Park Savannah lies our first food hub. In the heart of our nation’s capital, Port-of-Spain, you’ll find the best in  Trinbagonian cuisine cooked by the very best: our very own Trini People. Who better than to cook good, old-fashioned Trini food, than the beautiful and passionate people of the island! You’ll find tons of variety here.

Hungry? Try some corn soup, some spicy souse or tender barbecued pig tails. Eat a whole fried fish or bake and shark – there’s no need to share. Thirsty? You’ll be happy to find freshly squeezed juices, punches of all varieties and tastes and for the kids – get a snow cone oozing with extra condensed milk!

You’ll even find cuisine from around the Caribbean with tastes of Jamaica and Barbados making an appearance. After all, we are one family – so join in the fun! Arrive at about 6:00pm, walk with some beach chairs or pop open the trunk and have a feast under the stars! You won’t regret it.

2. The Cross:

Let’s move down South, to “The Cross”, famously known in Trinidad for its band of food trucks. Roadside eating never looked to good! You’ll find trucks of all shapes an sizes ready and prepped to serve you.

Located in San Fernando, Trinidad, The Cross is mostly known for its burgers but recently its become home to gyros, loaded hot dogs, corn soup, tacos – you name it! Parking is available on the strip itself, and there’s plenty of space to stand and eat, or simple stop with some friends for a grab and go dinner. It’s truly a must-see for any true foodie with its mixture of local and international cuisine. Thanks to our multicultural society, don’t be surprised if you find some franken-food that blends many foreign delicacies with a twist of Trinbagonian flare and flavour.

3. Ariapita Avenue

Possibly one of the most popular “liming” strips in Trinidad, Ariapita Avenue is an extremely popular location in Trinidadian street food. The stretch of road is home to night clubs, fine dining restaurants and a wide range of street food. Here you’ll find doubles, gyros, burgers, Trini home-style fried chicken, local artisan pizza, waffles and even Chinese fast-food, with a local twist. You can part and walk down the street easily, but with weekends getting particularly busy, beware of were you park! Wreckers are always on the prowl to be sure to check street signs to ensure that you’re parking in a safe zone.

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4. Grand Bazaar Food Strip

Unofficially named due to its close proximity to the Grand Bazaar Mall, this food strip has become increasing popular over the years. With highlights of local and international cuisine, you’ll be able to find bits of Colombian, Syrian and Mexican food options here along with the good, old Trini bites. The area has been newly renovated with seating options for those who wish to park and have a bite with family or friends. The street can get extremely busy however, during peak weekend hours, so be vigilant at all times. Vendors are usually open from about lunch time, but if you want the true experience, come for dinner when the street comes alive with lights and laughter. You won’t regret it!

So there you have it – just a few options for night life eating. Trinidad is such a diverse island, it’ll be a shame if you visited and didn’t pop by at least one of these epic locations.

Contact First Capital Apartments for more information on how we can meet your accommodation needs! Drop us an email, or give us a call – all the information can be found on our “Contact Us” page. We’re here to care of you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

First Capital’s Favorite Food Finds

“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.

Doubles MapWhere 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.

doubles blogTips 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).chicken and roti1

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.download

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.

roti mapWhere 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.

jumansTips 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.

20090328crispy-300x199A 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?

Pork MapWhere 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!

10700246_375775489252332_6428607025427579433_oTips 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.

For reservations, check our our home page, or fill our the form on our contact us page.

Cheers!

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