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School me on Trinidadian food, please!

I just moved back to NY (Brooklyn) and by lucky circumstances find myself walking distance to Ali's Trinidad Roti Shop.

It took one visit and I am totally addicted. The actual bread part of the roti is out of sight. The elasticity, the fragrance. So fantastic.

But I know almost nothing about Trinidadian food in general...it reminds me of Singaporean food because of the Indian influence.

Can someone give me an intro...and point me to their favorite Trinidadian goodies?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You might get more replies to your general question on the general board. And definitely post on Outer Boroughs board for all the places in Brooklyn.

    In manhattan I like the doubles available at Trini Paki Boys cart. Definitely get both tamarind and hot sauce. They also have bake & shark but I've never had it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LNG212

      @ LNG212 -- Thanks for the heads up. I think the moderators just moved this ;-)

      1. re: chloehk

        Good luck. Trini food is great. Be aware if you aren't already that Trini hot pepper sauce is really really hot! I also live shado beni (sp?) sauce but don't know where to recommend you get that since my sister makes it for us.

    2. I went to ALI ROTI after finding DAVID BRISKET closed a minute before I arrived ... ALI was out of most things because this was just after the W.I. festival on NOSTRAND around labor day, so I didnt get to analyze too many items.

      The ROTI I had was pretty good but frankly by fav item was the PEANUT PUNCH. AA DOUBLE SHOP right near there is also worth checking out ... ultra cheap.

      Yeah, I can see what you are getting at with the SIN comparison.

      During NYC site visits, I sometimes switch from the A to the C train there and in between run out and grab a snack. Although the first time, due to a miscommunication, I ended up walking from there to Grand Army Plaza with and 80lbs of stuff -- which sucked in the heat -- but I did find a number of interesting snacking places on the way.

      1. The nearby A&A Bake & Doubles is also good for doubles. Be sure to get it with tamarind and pepper.

        In fact, my usual order at Ali's is a "potato and channa roti with tamarind and pepper" (ordered just like that) -- the combo of the sweet/sour tamarind sauce and spicy scotch bonnet hot sauce is outstanding. (Channa is just chickpeas.)

        Wash it down with a Peardrax (but avoid Cydrax unless you like carbonated apple vinegar).

        1. Two big thumbs up on A&A Bake and Doubles.

          Now, try this stuff:
          -Curry goat roti "buss-up-shut" or regular roti.
          -Aloo pie with channa.
          -Saltfish bake.
          -Hit it with the spicy sauces and wash down with a couple of Carib beers.

          I like Ram's Roti...I think his new place is on Church near Nostrand. Take the 2 or 5 train to Church Avenue.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mike R.

            Mike R, is this the same Ram's Roti that used to be on Church near Flatbush? I loved that place, though the deafening bass thunp used to make me a little crazy as waited for my food. They made awesome rotis and their veggie dishes were excellent.

          2. Just came across this posting, great info about the different foods as well as a shop in queens.
            The website its from is pretty awesome in and of itself too

            1. I *love* Trinidadian food, too - and one of the reasons is like you mentioned - it somewhat reminded me of Singaporean-Indian cuisine:

              Buss-up-shot = roti prata
              Pone = kueh bengka
              Trini doubles = battura with curried chickpeas
              Trini beef roti = murtabak

              1 Reply
              1. re: klyeoh

                An even greater challenge would be to score some "manicou" or "cascadou" locally.


              2. Great recommendations on this thread, I'm eager to try them out. My go-to place for doubles is De Hot Pot in Prospect Lefferts (1127 Washington, in the triangle where Washington and Flatbush converge). When I can, I wash them down with their outstanding housemade sorrel (they've been out a few times, forcing me to drink ginger beer instead). They also do roti (good but not as good as their doubles, in my opinion) and have a wide selection of various vegetable sides and stewy-type dishes. But I generally end up getting doubles, just because they're so good: I'm in a bit of a rut in that regard. Oh, and the people who run the place are extremely nice.

                Another place to check out in the same neighborhood is Allan's Bakery,1109 Nostrand (at the corner of Maple). You can't miss it: you'll start smelling sugary, cinnamony baking smells a block away. I started out with their currant rolls, but then discovered coconut rolls, and there's been no going back. Both are strudel-type logs, generously sliced, and bulging with filling. In the case of the coconut roll, the filling is like coconut marzipan, with an almost floral flavor that keeps it from being cloying. (Warning: there is always a line, but it moves fast.)

                I'd love to see more recs - one of my favorite dishes when I traveled to Trinidad and Tobago was buljol, shredded saltfish with peppers, onions and spices, served with bake for breakfast. Is that the same as the saltfish bake mentioned here? Any good Brooklyn spots for that?

                1 Reply
                1. re: linda313

                  Sure sounds like the bake at Ram's Roti that I remember. He also has a second fish item for the bakes.

                2. I'm jumping on this a bit late and I'm literally about 2 years out of the loop, but here goes a few suggestions further afield (albeit accessible to you as you're not too far from the A train.)

                  - Singh's Roti Shop: One of the strongest roti places in Ozone Park, not far from the last stop on that section of the A train.
                  - Sylvie's Roti : Somewhat closer to the train than Singh's, but on the same side of the road. This place became my go-to before moving out of New York again.

                  Ozone Park and Richmond Hill have an immense range of Trini and Guyanese eateries, bakeries, bars, stores, etc. There's undoubtedly a lot to find here if you walk around and try some places (I haven't been in about 2 years so I'm not exactly the best source on this stuff.)

                  There's also an excellent Surinamese restaurant over there and Veggie Castle (roughly opp. the Surinamese place) is pretty good for Jamaican / Rasta veg food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JFores

                    I'm a big Singh's fan, too. Their rotis and doubles are great. Not sure it's worth trekking all the way out there if you have Ali's and A&A close by, but Singh's is very good if you happen to be in the area. Think I tried Sylvie's once and preferred Singh's, but once is probably not enough to make an informed decision.

                  2. Just did some Googling and it seems like Warung Kario (Surinamese I noted in previous post) has shut down! Can anyone confirm this?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JFores

                      Warung Kario closed about a year ago, and its Javanese owners moved to Florida, according to the operator of the successor business, Caribbean Suriname Restaurant. The new lingua franca is Sranan Tongo, a creole language with West African roots that's also called Taki Taki. (As before, English works just fine; so does Dutch.) It's best to call ahead to confirm the hours when food will be at its freshest and most varied.

                      Dave Cook

                      1. re: DaveCook

                        Have you been back since your initial report?

                        Also, interesting to note that they have an "All You Can Eat" option for $10 http://caribbeansurinamerestaurant.com/

                        1. re: lambretta76

                          I've poked my head in a couple of times, but only at the tail end of a day's explorations. Next time, I'll try that the other way 'round.

                          Dave Cook

                    2. Go to Sonny's. Classes are during business hours. The girls who waitress can answer all your questions. The guys in the kitchen, or if there are gals, they too can answer all your questions about Trinidad food.

                      The best schools in this area of knowledge, are found with seating in the front, and a kitchen somewhere to the side or back.

                      Use Sonny's hot sauce...tell them much. Liberty Ave.

                      Sonny's Roti Shop, 118-06 LIBERTY AVENUE, Queens, NY 11419