Jamaica’s got jerk; Puerto Rico has pinchos; and Barbados has bakes. But Trinidad is the only place you can find doubles, the filling and flavorful roadside snack that’s the twin-island republic’s quintessential comfort food.
Made with two (hence the name) roughly six-inch-diameter rounds of fried dough called bara, the hand-held meatless meal is a spicy roti/wrap/sandwich hybrid, filled with heaping spoons full of curried chickpeas or channa. Fresh cucumber slaw, mango chutney and the culantro-based sauce shado beni are essential embellishments, but every doubles vendor offers their own particular condiment combo. And every Trini has their own favorite “doubles man” (although, of course, there are female doubles dealers).
On our first day, our tour guide showed us how to eat the mess-making mouthfuls without wearing it: an entertaining demo that involved holding the snack at arm’s length, bending at the waist, sticking out your posterior, and doing a jaunty little quickstep when the hot sauce gets the better of you.
I’m not sure whether her theatrics were authentic, but I am sure about how delicious those doubles were.
So sure, in fact, that I had them three more times over the next two days.
Tempted to taste? Here are three spots to double down in Port-of-Spain:
1. Piarco International Airport: Check your bags early and then check out the fare at the stalls by the taxi stand.
2. Curepe Junction – Swing by this town in St. George and get a doubles fix from vendors who operate 24 hours a day.
3. The Savannah – You’ll be spoilt for choice at the capital’s landmark park (AKA the world’s largest roundabout), where vendors hawk doubles and other street food every evening.