Trinidad and Tobago's diet is a reflection of the country's rich cultural heritage, which blends the flavors and ingredients of Africa, India, China, Europe, and the Caribbean. Here are some of the unique dietary attributes of Trinidad and Tobago:
Spices - Trinidad and Tobago's cuisine is known for its bold and spicy flavors. The use of hot peppers, such as scotch bonnet, is common in many dishes, as well as a variety of other spices and herbs like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and thyme.
Street food - Trinidad and Tobago is known for its street food culture, with vendors selling a wide range of snacks and meals from roadside stands. Some of the most popular street foods include doubles (a type of sandwich made with fried bread and curried chickpeas), roti (a type of flatbread filled with curried meat or vegetables), and bake and shark (fried shark served on a bread roll).
Seafood - As an island nation, seafood is an important part of Trinidad and Tobago's diet. Fish like kingfish, red snapper, and tuna are commonly eaten, as well as shellfish like crab, lobster, and conch.
Rice and peas - Rice and peas is a popular dish in Trinidad and Tobago, made with rice, pigeon peas, coconut milk, and a variety of spices. It is often served as a side dish with meat or fish.
Callaloo - Callaloo is a leafy green vegetable that is similar to spinach. It is often used in soups and stews, and is also a popular side dish.
Sorrel - Sorrel is a type of hibiscus flower that is used to make a traditional Trinidadian drink. The flowers are boiled with spices like cinnamon and cloves, and sweetened with sugar. The resulting drink is a bright red color and is often served cold during the holiday season.
Roti - Roti is a type of flatbread that is a staple in Trinidad and Tobago. It is often filled with curried meat or vegetables, and can be eaten as a snack or as a full meal.
Many social gatherings are complemented with meals. While it is common to eat on the run in Trinidad, cooking substantial meals at home is important, especially on weekends. A typical Sunday dinner may include callaloo, a combination of spinach and crab. Other favorites are curried crab and coocoo, a cornmeal and okra pie.