Trinidadian Culinary Styles

Photo credit: © Kropic |

Trinidad and Tobago have been influenced by cultures from around the world, which lends local cuisine a flavorful blend of international style.

"Locals" come from all over, including India, China, Europe, and other parts of the Caribbean. Vacationers will find food on Trinidad and Tobago to be as multi-cultural and diverse as the ethnicity of the people who live here.

When dining on the islands, you will taste that the versatile culinary background is highly influenced by Indian cuisine. Trinidad and Tobago have been influenced by Indian culture more than any other islands in the Caribbean, especially when it comes to food. Spicy curry dishes can be tasted on both islands. Rotis, a fiery Indian dish of breads stuffed with chickpea curry and ground meat, is a favorite lunch meal among locals and tourists. You can cool the fire with ice-cold rum punch.  Trini's have taken it upon themselves to adapt the rotis, creating a variety of similar dishes, such as paratha, dosti, and dhalpourie, which are made with yellow lentils; and aloopourie, made with sweet potatoes.

Spanish culture also has influenced Trinidad and Tobago's cuisine and is seen in tasty Creole dishes such as Pelau, the islands' national dish, a meal of rice, peas, and meat, bear a Spanish stamp. When African slaves were brought to the islands, their food and cuisine also blended with other styles, bringing root vegetables such as yams and dasheen to the table. You'll also find Chinese food almost everywhere on the islands. Local seafood specials like chip chip, a clam-like shellfish, and stuffed crabs are popular among visitors to the islands. More adventurous eaters try the armadillo and possum stew.

However, travelers should not assume that the only foods will be Spanish or Indian. The African slaves brought their own cuisines to the island. Caribbean style fare (which is usually quite heavily influenced by African foods) is also widely available. No matter what flavors you're looking for, Trinbagonians can offer you incredible flavors.

Doubles are a yummy vegetarian sandwich...


Food is a major part of the people of Trinidad and Tobago's culture, and Trinbagonians enjoy eating good foods while socializing with friendly people. Visitors can learn a lot about the islands through the cuisine alone, and many are in awe of the smörgåsbord of restaurants that are available. Trinidad and Tobago has some of the widest varieties of dining establishments in the Caribbean, which ranges from upscale restaurants to small family eateries and roadside vendors. Deciding where to dine may be one of the most difficult choices you will make on your island getaway.

Vegetarians may enjoy offerings of roadside vendors. Doubles are a yummy vegetarian sandwich popular among vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The sandwich is made up of curried chickpeas surrounded by two rounds of fried dough, which can be enjoyed any time of day.

Below is a sampling of some of Trinidad and Tobago's stand out dishes:

  • Bake and shark - shark meat topped with various relishes and sandwiched between two slices of fried bread;
  • Buljol - shredded saltfish mixed with onions, tomatoes and olive oil;
  • Callaloo - soup consisting of dasheen leaves, coconut milk, ochroes, and pumpkin, sometimes salted meat or crab is added;
  • Chip chip - tiny curried shell fish;
  • Chokas - roasted and pounded vegetables;
  • Coconut jelly - meat scooped directly from the coconut;
  • Creole corn soup - thick and creamy soup loaded up with corn and other vegetables;
  • Fruit chow - chopped fruit (half ripe to ripe), and mixed with lime juice, pepper, salt, oil, cilantro, and garlic;
  • Pastel - meat, lentils or soya with olives, raisins, and capers encased in cornmeal and steamed in banana leaves;
  • Pelau - meat, rice, and pigeon peas;
  • Pholourie - fritters made of flour and split peas, topped with chutney;
  • Sanoche - split pea, dumpling, carrots, meat, and ground provisions soup;
  • Souse - boiled pig trotters or chicken feet, chilled and served in a brine of pepper, onions, cucumbers, and lime;

Now that you know all about Trinidad and Tobago's delectable offerings, you're probably chomping at the bit, ready to begin your vacation and sample as much as you can. By visiting our Restaurant Directory, you may search restaurants by name, or if you are interested in a particular cuisine, click here.

Reading descriptions of the island's restaurants will give you a better idea of where you want to eat when you arrive. If you are still undecided where to stay, you can learn about restaurants at specific hotels in several ways. First, consider visiting our article listing the Best Hotels for Dining Options. Or, select hotels that interest you from our extensive list (A to Z: Hotels in Detail), and read about their restaurants, as well as other nearby dining options within our detailed discussion of each property.

Travelers will be able to choose from Chinese, Lebanese, French, Italian, Indian, and Thai foods along with many other diverse dishes while on the island, so no matter what kind of food you're craving, Trinidad and Tobago can cater to the most discerning of tastes.


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