The Best Fish Sandwich Ever

The things people do for love. Would you drive about an hour over mountainous terrain in sometimes hazardous conditions for love? Love of the perfect fish sandwich that is - many have and many more will!

Famous Bake and Shark

Trinidad and Tobago can boast of many things, but for over fourteen years we have claimed a title to my knowledge unrivaled: having the Best Fish Sandwich in existence - Bake and Shark.

Naked Sandwich
Basic Components Skillfully Prepared

Fried round bread about the width of a large hamburger bun but half it's thickness holding flakey, mild tasting, moist fillets of well prepared fried shark meat. Undressed, this sandwich is already in a class by itself, topped with some unique condiments (as well as some of the usual suspects) takes it over the top.

Maracas Beach Trinidad
The Most Popular place to buy Bake and Shark - Richard's

At Maracas Beach on the north coast of the island of Trinidad, you will find many Bake and Shark vendors, but the most popular is Richard's Bake and Shark. Easily distinguishable from the other vendors, not so much by the extended sales hut branded in electric blue, but by the long lines of customers which seem a permanent fixture any day if the week.

Richard of Richard's Bake and Shark

Richard's is open every day, it's namesake manning the cash, slicing open the hot bread and inserting the fillets of fish with robotic precision. Richard at first glance may look unapproachable, but engage him in any casual conversation and a broad smile appears though his hands never stop moving. He is at this post every day save Mondays (his day off) and on weekends he stands from morning to evening serving thousands.

Amazing Complements
All Dressed Up
Ask any ten Trinbagonian how they top their Bake and Shark and you may get ten different answers; some like it super sloppy with sauces of garlic, cilantro (shadon beni) and tamarind, others love the salad like additions of cabbage slaw, tomatoes, sliced pineapple and local lettuce. Anyway it is dressed it still remains surprisingly light and immensely addictive. 

The Best Sandwich Made Ultimate
When Enjoyed at Famous Maracas Beach 

With its own fan page and a following of over forty-seven thousand on Facebook, where daily declarations of love are made from locals and foreigners alike, this fish sandwich undoubtedly is unparalleled and Richard's on Maracas Beach - 'the' place to get it.

A Sandwich and A View


Tobago Blue Food Festival 2010

To a little village in the rural north of the island of Tobago they came in their thousands.
Journeying across land and sea they arrived at a now well established Festival built around one thing: a root vegetable which turns blue when cooked. Welcome to the Tobago Blue Food Festival 2010.

Stage Banner at the Festival
This was more than an opportunity to sample traditional recipes perfected, for me it was a long overdue visit to the sister isle of Tobago and drink in the splendor of a quintessential Caribbean paradise accessible by a twenty minute flight from the more industrialized Trinidad. Why did I not come to the Festival before? Why was this my first trip to Tobago for the year? The questions now irrelevant, replaced by awe, fulfillment and wonder with a pinch of shame - the shame of being so clueless for so long. 

Blue-ish Dasheen (Taro Root)
for which the Festival is named
If you are adventurous in your culinary exploits, this Event guarantees the exotic will be on the menu and it will be well prepared.

Offering from one Competitor
Varying Dasheen Punches
including Spinach/Bok-choi (Green)
Cassava, Dasheen, Dumplings & Stewed Fish w/Ochra
The Festival in it's eleventh year, held in the village of Bloody Bay (between Parlatuvier and L'Anse Fourmi in Tobago) is a showcase and an inter-village competition of food and drink prepared from the Dasheen (Taro Root). The competition is fierce and the stakes high - village pride!

Sweets and Desserts made with Dasheen
Against a Backdrop of Lush Green - Tents
and Early-bird Patrons
All that can be made from the Dasheen was made from Dasheen; alcoholic drinks, punches, fudges, cakes and pizza to name a few. In it's pure state, boiled and sliced it was served as a starch (a heavy one) in meals with meat or seafood of choice and the choices were stunning.

Curry/Stewed Iguana
Cassava, Green Bananas, Dasheen & Plantains
Presented to the judges and on sale to patrons was curried or stewed Iguana, Crab, Fish, Turtle, Agouti (of the rodent family), Manicou (Opossum) and Tattoo (Armadillo) with Ground Provisions, Dasheen or Corn Meal Dumplings and boiled Plantains.

Delicious Curried Crab
Stick to your Ribs Dumplings
The more than four thousand attendees of the event danced to live entertainment from artists like Black Stalin and Swappy, they drank from the bar and booths and munched on bush meat, seafood and traditional sweets and desserts.

Turtle Cooked in Coconut Milk
Sweet Dasheen Delights
October 17 was a Sunday of exceptional flavor and experiences with a measure of unexpected beauty. Beauty in the lush greenery surrounding the Festival Grounds, beauty in the perfect simplicity of village food and beauty in the welcoming people of Bloody Bay and surrounding villages. I will forever be changed and forever a true Blue Food fan.

Spectacular Food in a Breath-taking Location 


Pholourie, Phulourie or Phoulourie, Delicious However You Spell It

In my early childhood years the smell of Pholourie being cooked by a vendor who plied her trade from under a side shed just off the school playground would confuse me. I couldn't concentrate on work, I couldn't focus on anything else, all I would think about was how I could get some Pholourie.

Yummy Pholourie with Anchar Chutney
Luckily for me, this vendor was not a daily fixture in the schoolyard else I may not have made it through primary school at all. It was rare if she turned up twice in one week which may have added to the fascination and fixation. When she did appear (any random day of the week), she would begin frying the batter of flour and channa (chick peas) about ten minutes before we broke for lunch, signaling a minor mania in my brain and the end to any studies for that midday session; Must have Pholourie, Must get Pholourie - and I was not alone.

Especially when hot - this snack is remarkable
Pholourie pronounced [Pull-ow-ree] is a very popular snack food in Trinidad and Tobago, in fact 'very popular' my be a gross understatement, it is served at formal weddings and casual get togethers (or as we call it - liming) alike. It is a fried seasoned batter of flour and chick peas, eaten with a thin dip or chutney made from mango or tamarind which may be sweet or sourish/savory. 

The little balls are soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. Variations in recipe add more seasonings to the batter like minced garlic, hot peppers and herbs and/or change the flour to split pea ratio giving either a heavier or lighter ball of glee.
Sign Outside Tunapuna Shop
Enter for Sizzling Hot Pholourie from about 3 p.m.
There are many places around Trinidad and Tobago to find good Pholourie, one popular place is Hosein's Roti Shop with many locations around Trinidad. Hosein's $5.00 per dozen special which comes with a sweet curried mango chutney or for a little extra money some Anchar Masala Mango (a thicker chutney with roasted cumin) makes this a trip worth sitting in some traffic and waiting in line for. My search however is still ongoing, with the help of a few willing friends, to find The Best Pholourie in all of Trinidad and Tobago (though Hosein's is good any day of the week).
Sweet and Thick; Anchar Masala Mango is my Choice
Pholourie, Aloo Pies and a lone Saheena at Hosein's
Trinbagonians always seem to take things to a different level. Our fun and fascination with food is blatantly apparent on the social networking tool Facebook within which Pholourie has is own fan page and a rapidly growing following is testament. Such a love and the open expression of it for a great traditional recipe can't be wrong. So go ahead, click 'like' if you like Pholourie.

I Tasted it for You :-)

Pholourie Recipe (from the Naparima Girl's High School Cookbook)
Serves 6 or more

2      cups ground split peas or channa
2      tsp. minced garlic
1/2   tsp. saffron powder
4      tsp. baking powder
2      cups flour
1      tsp. salt
1/2   tsp. hot pepper (minced)
1      cup water
2      cups oil for frying

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine ground split peas, garlic, saffron, baking powder, flour, salt and hot pepper
  2. Mix a well in the center and add 1 cup of water. Combine, beating mixture vigorously until batter is of a dropping consistency. It may be necessary to add more water
  3. Drop by teaspoon into hot oil and deep fry until golden brown and well cooked. Turn frequently to ensure even cooking
  4. Drain on absorbent paper and serve with chutney or dip

Nutrition Facts
Serving size (13g)
Calories per serving 260, Calories from fat 11


German Food Festival Oktoberfest 2010 - Trinidad Hilton

Men in shorts with suspenders yodeling and dancing amidst diners at the Hilton Hotel Port of Spain - strange? No, it is after all, October.

Hilton's Dining Room Dressed
for the October 7th-13th Festival

Oktoberfest was celebrated in splendid style for the second time in as many years here in Trinidad and I loved it. This was not an ordinary themed buffet inspired by a distant affair in a land far away. This was a slice of the real deal, a true taste of the Munich Festival that has become the world's largest fair.

Grilled Meat and Sausage with of course, Sauerkraut
Dessert Station Adorned with the German Flag
Time honored recipes, traditional treatments, authentic ingredients and live entertainment from a five piece German Band made my October 12th, a remarkable dining experience.

Spatzle with Cheese
A Wide Array of Salads

It was hard to keep a straight face all night; the costumes, the music and the beer, which we were urged to drink by the band every ten or so minutes with customary raised glass and cheer "Prost!" It was such good fun.
German Band Werdenfels-Quintet
Pork Tenderloin with Caraway Jus and Beer Cabbage
Chef Fridiof Mortiz
Bavarian cuisine was the main attraction; Sous Chef Fridiof Mortiz from Hilton Munich was especially invited to work with Executive Sous Chef Alexis Ottley for the occasion. What they prepared was an opportunity to immerse oneself in a sampling and celebration of Germany.
Crisp Savory Vegetables
Roasted Pork Served with Caraway Sauce
Duck breast perfectly rendered, pork flawlessly roasted - it's meat white and tender, its skin golden brown and crisp. Spicy salami and thick juicy sausages, entrees with pairings of apple and oranges, imported crisp radishes and German cheeses.

Barbaric Duck Breast with Apples and Oranges
German Salami and Cheese Platters
Attentive staff in full costume surrounded by the music of the Werdenfels Quintett. The band of jovial young men posed willingly for patrons with cell phones and cameras alike and whose songs I still hear in my head as I write this.

Sweet Berry Mousse
Dirndi Clad Hilton Staffers
For a few hours that night, Germany was but a short drive into our capital where I savored Bavarian delights and clapped to folk music so unlike my own. 

Oktober Contentment


Colombian Food Festival 2010

In one night, you could be transported to another place (even another time), where the indigenous taste of grain is prevalent, vegetables kissed by fire divulge their sweetness and the powers of cocoa harnessed, you lose yourself.

Incredible Desserts at the Colombian Food Festival
Sensory delights from Colombia expertly presented in dishes of Quinoa, Root Vegetables, Fish and Chicken accompanied by exciting performances of Salsa, is what I sampled at Trinidad's Colombian Food Festival, and note to self; I need to learn more about Colombian Cuisine because I have been missing out!

A Cornucopia of Colombian Cuisine and the Chef
Dinner and Salsa
Celebrity Colombian Chef Catalina Velez Ocampo graced these shores to exhibit some of the best of what Colombia has to offer. Complemented by the great service of the staff at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad, October 7th was a night of balanced textures, tastes and skill. Some flavors were familiar, others alien but all superb. 
Beautiful and Approachable Chef Catalina Velez Ocampo
The friendly atmosphere made the night even more notable; guests smiled at each other as glances were exchanged from table to table. Conversations struck up over choices at the buffet with complete strangers and insights on the preparation and origins of the dishes shared by the world famous chef herself (sometimes finishing a comment with a broad smile and a playful wink).
Coconut Rice
Decorated with some Colombian Flare
Black Eyed Peas Croquettes and Patacones
The Waterfront Restaurant, ground floor at the Hyatt hosted the event in fine style, each table dressed with a red or yellow rose. A stage set to the eastern side of the dining room, twice featured Salsa dancing during the night, which had staff as well as guests shaking a shoulder or tapping a foot (unconsciously at times) but all in good fun.
Professional Salsa Dancers from Colombia's Salsa Viva School
Grilled Snapper with Coconut Achiote Sauce
Fabulous food was the main event with an array of salads on the menu; root vegetables julienned or sliced, fruit perfectly grilled, lettuce hand torn, other vegetables cubed, sauteed and all creatively combined, delivering authentic Colombian style delight to the palate.
Root Vegetable Salad
Tamarind Glazed Chicken Breast
Quinoa with Vegetables and Almonds
Entrees and sides were earthy, creamy and hearty. Familiar was the incorporation of coconut milk into some dishes like coconut rice and pumpkin soup, along with ingredients like guavas, black eyed peas, bananas, plantains and tamarind. The application of these ingredients in the hands of Chef Catalina is what carried you away to a land steeped in a vast, rich multicultural history different to our own.
Sauteed Vegetables
Desserts were amazing. Coffee sauces, chocolate creations of sumptuousness, fluffy corn cakes and light, creamy mousses.

Chocolate Melcocha with Coffee Syrup
[Front] Coconut Rice Pudding
[Back] Guava Mousse with Mandarin Honey
The festival was a collaborative effort hosted by the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Copa Airlines and Proexport. It was held October 6th-9th, 2010 and I hope it will be continued as an annual event given it's success this year.
The Colombian Flag Proudly on Display
A More than Satisfying Taste of Colombia