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Nov 19, 2012 08:53 AM

Trinidad food

A houseguest is arriving for the holidays who is from Trinidad. Knowing nothing about the national cuisine, I'm wondering if there are any restaurants/stores/food websites where I can bring a bit of home this season. Anyone know anything?

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  1. Specialty Foods (formerly Oriental Lucky Mart) and Man Must Wak, both in the 500 block of Oak St. in Oakland.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      minor edit. the two shops are on the 500 block of 8th St. in Old Oakland.

      1. re: drewskiSF

        Indeed. I don't know how I typed that so wrong.

    2. There is also a the Jamaican store on Broadway
      Jamaican Market
      4042 Broadway Oakland, CA 94611

      8 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        Do they have any Trini stuff? Speaking of Jamaican, the beef patties at Specialty Foods are or at least used to be really good.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I am not clear if there are a lot of differences in Ingredients between the two. I would think that there is a lot of crossover as with the rest of the Caribbean.
          I have never had their Patties, I usually make my own. The ones I saw at Jamaican Market looked commercially made to me.

          1. re: chefj

            Trinidadian cuisine's not too similar to Jamaican. They're at opposite ends of the Caribbean, had different colonial influences, and Trinidad had a lot of immigrants from India.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Jamaica also had a good bit of Indian influence. They both also saw influence from Africa, China and Europe.
              They still share a large amount of basic food stuffs, Bread Fruit, Scotch Bonnets, Salted Fish, Avacodo, Cassava, Coconut Milk.......... You get the Idea.
              They were both Colonized by the Spanish first and then the British. Are there others?

              1. re: chefj

                Many everyday Trinidadian dishes in are foreign to Jamaica and vice-versa. Some dishes with the same names and historical origins are actually quite different, e.g. callaloo.

                Getting a homesick Trinidadian some Jamaican food would be a bit like getting a homesick Texan food from South Carolina.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  There is no suggestion of getting Jamaican food for their house guest.

                  These are all markets and both cuisines use the same or very similar ingredients. She can cook Trinidadian food with ingredients bought at any Caribbean Market.
                  So as far as I know none of the places mentioned are Restaurants and there are no Trinidadian Restaurants in the Bay area that I know of.

                  1. re: chefj

                    I didn't read the original post to imply cooking, but if that's the case, I've bought the Trinidadian herb chadon beni a few blocks from Specialty Foods, at one of the Vietnamese groceries on the south side of 9th St. just east of Broadway. They call it ngo gai and you might have to ask them to find it in the refrigerator.

                    Another very Trinidadian ingredient is fresh taro leaves (dasheen), which are essential for making callaloo. 99 Ranch and Mangal's in San Leandro are two places I've seen those.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Since they were asking for stores and web sites I figured cooking was in the cards.
                      But we have not heard a peep from the poster.