Top 43 must-try dishes from Trinidad and Tobago

31.1.24 | Recipe by Renz
Welcome to the tantalizing world of Trinidad and Tobago, where the vibrant and diverse culinary landscape mirrors the rich cultural tapestry of these twin islands. Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago boast a culinary heritage influenced by a fusion of African, East Indian, Chinese, European, and Indigenous flavors. This multicultural harmony is most evident in the delectable array of dishes that grace the tables across the islands, each bite telling a story of heritage and tradition.

Collage of images for appetizers with bake and shake, pelau, souse and curry channa and aloo..

At the heart of Trinibagonian culture is the revered tradition of Sunday lunch, a culinary spectacle where families gather to share not just a meal but a feast for the senses. This weekly ritual showcases the fusion of diverse culinary influences, from the aromatic spices of curry dishes to soul-soothing stews and hearty rice-based offerings. Sunday lunch is more than sustenance; it's a celebration of togetherness, culture, and the irresistible flavors passed down through generations.

Venturing beyond the family table, the pulsating rhythm of Trinidad and Tobago's street food culture beckons. The bustling streets come alive with the sizzling sounds and tempting aromas of local delights. From the iconic doubles with its layers of curried chickpeas to the savory delight of bake and shark, street food is a culinary adventure that captures the essence of the islands. These portable delights, often enjoyed on the go, embody the spirit of community and the love for bold, flavorful experiences.

Join us on a food journey as we explore 43 excellent local foods from Trinidad & Tobago, where every dish is a testament to the cultural diversity and the passionate love affair with food that defines these captivating islands.

Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and uncover the stories behind each flavorful bite of Caribbean cuisine!



Collage image of food from Trinidad and Tobago that is smoked herring and saltfish buljol.

  • Smoked herring: A savory and smoky delight, smoked herring is a popular ingredient in Trinidadian cuisine. Often used in salads, stews, or served with provisions, the distinct flavor of smoked herring adds depth and richness to a variety of dishes.

  • Saltfish buljol: A flavorful and spicy Trinidadian dish, saltfish buljol is made by flaking salted cod and mixing it with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and various seasonings. Served as a salad or side dish, it showcases the island's love for bold and savory flavors.

  • Baigan choka: A smoky and savory Trinidadian dish, baigan choka features roasted and mashed eggplant mixed with onions, garlic, and peppers. The charring of the eggplant imparts a distinctive flavor, creating a delightful spread or side dish.

Appetizers/Street food:

Collage of images for appetizers with souse, doubles and pholourie.

  • Barbecue pigtail: A savory and indulgent Trinidadian dish, barbecue pigtails are slow-cooked in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce until tender. The result is a flavorful and hearty treat that showcases the island's love for bold and savory flavors.

  • Pholourie: A popular snack or appetizer, pholourie consists of small, deep-fried, spiced dough balls made from ground chickpeas. Often served with tamarind sauce or chutney, these bite-sized delights are bursting with savory and tangy notes.

  • Aloo pies: These fried dough pockets are filled with seasoned mashed potatoes with curry powder, creating a savory and satisfying Trinidadian street food. Aloo pies are often enjoyed on the go and offer a delightful combination of crispy exterior and flavorful filling.

  • Doubles: A beloved street food, doubles feature two layers of fried flatbread filled with curried chickpeas, tamarind sauce, and an assortment of chutneys. Bursting with contrasting flavors and textures, it's a delightful handheld snack that captures the essence of Trinbagonian street cuisine. You can find a doubles vendor on just about every street corner.

  • Souse: A tangy and refreshing Trinbagonian dish, souse features pickled pig trotters or chicken feet, accompanied by cucumbers, onions, and peppers. This dish offers a delightful balance of flavors and textures, making it a popular choice, especially during celebrations.

  • Bake and shark: This iconic, very popular street food pairs fried bake with fried shark meat, offering a delightful fusion of textures and flavors. Served with an array of various sauces and toppings, it's a quintessential taste of the islands.

  • Black pudding: A savory delight in Caribbean cuisine, black pudding is a unique blood sausage crafted from pig's blood, spices, and herbs. This culinary masterpiece is a testament to the island's commitment to robust and flavorful dishes. Often grilled or fried to perfection, black pudding offers a rich and distinctive taste. Its bold and hearty flavor, combined with a satisfyingly dense texture, makes black pudding a distinctive and cherished addition to local meals and a testament to the island's culinary inventiveness.


A collage of foods from Trinidad and Tobago that include coo coo, macaroni pie and curry aloo and channa.

  • Channa and aloo (chickpeas and potato): A comforting Trinidadian curry dish, channa and aloo bring together chickpeas and potatoes in a rich and flavorful curry sauce. The combination of hearty chickpeas and tender potatoes makes this vegetarian dish a satisfying and popular choice.

  • Bhagi rice: A delectable dish featuring leafy greens, usually spinach or dasheen bush, combined with rice. The vibrant flavors of the bhagi meld with the rice, creating a wholesome and satisfying Trinidadian meal.

  • Callaloo: A nutritious dish, callaloo features dasheen leaves or taro leaves, okra, and often crab or salted meat. This vibrant dish showcases the diversity of local ingredients and is a go-to comfort food, especially during cooler months.

  • Coo Coo: This side dish, made from cornmeal and okra, is a perfect complement to Trinidadian stews, especially fish or callaloo. Its unique texture and flavor profile make it a comforting and traditional part of the local cuisine.

  • Macaroni Pie: A classic comfort food, macaroni pie is a baked casserole featuring macaroni and a cheesy, flavorful sauce. This crowd-pleasing dish is a staple at Trinidadian family gatherings and celebrations.


Pictures of Trinidad and Tobago foods including pelau, curry stew chicken and oil down.

  • Oil down: A hearty one-pot wonder, oil down is a traditional Trinidadian dish that combines breadfruit, callaloo, dumplings, and various types of meat (typically salted pigtail or chicken) in a coconut milk-infused broth. The ingredients simmer together, absorbing the coconut goodness, resulting in a satisfyingly rich and flavorful medley.

  • Stewed meat: A classic, stewed meat involves marinating meat (Stew chicken, stew beef, or stew pork for example) in caramelized brown sugar and a flavorful blend of spices and aromatics before slow-cooking it to tender perfection. The resulting dish is a savory and succulent medley of rich flavors, with the meat soaking up the aromatic essence of the stew.

  • Curry crab and dumplings: A seafood lover's delight, curry crab and dumplings feature blue crab cooked in a flavorful curry sauce, served alongside soft and doughy dumplings. The combination of succulent crab and aromatic spices makes it a must-try dish.

  • Geera pork - A flavorful and spicy Trinidadian dish, geera pork involves marinating and slow-cooking pork with generous amounts of ground cumin (geera). The result is a succulent and aromatic meat dish that showcases the bold flavors of Trinidadian cuisine.[Classic Bakes]

  • Pelau: Pelau, a rice-based dish, is a hearty one-pot wonder that brings together rice, pigeon peas, and meat (often chicken or pork), all cooked in a coconut milk-infused broth. The result is a flavorful medley with a subtle sweetness from the coconut milk and a savory richness from the meat.

  • Curry duck: A classic Trinidadian dish, curry duck involves marinating duck in a rich and aromatic curry sauce before slow-cooking to perfection. The tender meat absorbs the bold flavors of the curry, creating a hearty and satisfying main course.


A collage of beverages from Trinidad and Tobago with sorrel, peanut punch and Guinness punch.

  • Sorrel drink: A festive and refreshing beverage, sorrel drink is made from steeping dried sorrel petals in water, often flavored with ginger, cloves, and other spices. This vibrant drink is a Trinidadian holiday favorite, enjoyed for its unique tartness and deep red hue.

  • Peanut punch: A refreshing and festive beverage, pumpkin punch is made with calabaza (pumpkin), condensed milk, and a medley of spices. This creamy and spiced drink is a popular choice, especially during the holiday season in Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Guinness Punch: A rich and indulgent beverage, Guinness Punch is a Trinidadian drink made with the iconic stout beer, sweetened condensed milk, nutmeg, and spices. This sweet and robust punch is a festive treat, enjoyed during celebrations and special occasions.


A collage of snacks from Trinidad and Tobago including kurma, pineapple chow and tamarind balls.

  • Tambran (tamarind) ball: A sweet and tangy Trinidadian confection, tambran balls are made by rolling tamarind paste into bite-sized balls. The result is a burst of intense tamarind flavor, offering a delightful balance of sweetness and tartness in each bite.

  • Kurma: Sweet and spiced fried dough balls, kurma is a delightful treat often enjoyed as a snack or dessert. Combining warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg creates a comforting and aromatic flavor profile.

  • Chow: A vibrant and tangy Trinidadian snack, chow features a mix of fresh fruits (such as mango, pineapple, or cucumber) seasoned with salt, pepper, and lime juice. This refreshing and flavorful dish is a popular street food and a delightful way to enjoy local produce.

  • Red mango: A beloved Trinidadian delicacy, red mango is a tangy and sweet preserved fruit snack made from unripe mangoes. Sliced and pickled in a brine of sugar, spices, and peppers, red mango offers a delightful balance of flavors, with a hint of heat from the peppers and a tangy sweetness from the pickling solution. Its vibrant red hue and zesty taste make it a popular street snack enjoyed on its own. 


A collage of condiments including garlic sauce and chado beni sauce.

  • Garlic sauce: A pungent and creamy condiment, garlic sauce is a popular condiment in Trinidadian cuisine. Made with fresh garlic, mayonnaise, and other seasonings, it adds a bold and zesty kick to various dishes, making it a versatile favorite for enhancing flavors.

  • Chadon beni sauce: A zesty sauce made with chadon beni (culantro), garlic, pepper, and other seasonings. This flavorful condiment adds a burst of freshness and spice to many Trinidadian dishes, enhancing the overall culinary experience.

  • Tambran sauce: A tangy and sweet condiment, Trinidad tamarind sauce is made from the pulp of tamarind fruit, blended with sugar, spices, and peppers for a hint of heat. This versatile sauce adds a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes. With its irresistible combination of tanginess and sweetness, tamarind sauce is a staple in Trinidadian cuisine, enhancing the taste of every bite with its distinctive tropical flair.

Bread & Cakes

A group of cakes and breads from Trinidad and Tobago: sweet bread, cassava pone and hops.

  • Sweet bread: A coconut-infused bread loaf, sweet bread is a delectable dessert enjoyed year-round. Moist and slightly dense, this sweet treat often contains raisins and is a favorite accompaniment to tea or coffee.

  • Black cake: A luscious and rich dessert, black cake is a fruit cake soaked in rum, often enjoyed during festive occasions like Christmas. Packed with dried fruits and aromatic spices, it's a sweet indulgence with a Caribbean twist.

  • Fry bake: A popular breakfast item, fry bake is a type of fried dough (kind of like fried bread) that is light and fluffy on the inside with a crispy exterior. Often served with saltfish, tomatoes, and avocado, fry bake is a delicious and versatile option for a morning meal.

  • Sada roti: A simple yet essential flatbread, sada roti is an unleavened version that complements a variety of savory dishes. Soft and pliable, it serves as the perfect canvas for scooping up curries or pairing with chokas and other flavorful accompaniments.

  • Roti: A versatile unleavened flatbread, introduced by the East Indians, Trinidad's version of roti is a staple accompaniment to various curries be it meats or vegetables. Soft and pliable, it provides the perfect vessel for sopping up the rich flavors of curried chicken, goat, or beef, making it a beloved and satisfying meal.

  • Buss up shut (paratha roti): This torn, flaky flatbread is a Trinidadian favorite, often served with curried dishes. The unique texture of buss up shut, resembling a tattered shirt, makes it an intriguing and delicious accompaniment to a variety of savory fillings.

  • Pone: A beloved dessert, cassava pone is a sweet and dense confection made from grated cassava, coconut, and a blend of aromatic spices. Baked to perfection, it offers a satisfying combination of chewiness and richness, making it a popular treat during festive occasions. 

  • Coconut bake: A beloved Trinidadian bread, coconut bake is a slightly sweet and dense loaf made with grated coconut. Baked to golden perfection, this bread offers a delightful combination of a crisp exterior and a moist, coconut-infused interior, making it a delicious accompaniment to both savory and sweet dishes.

  • Hops bread: A Trinidadian staple, hops bread is a soft and fluffy bread with a slightly sweet flavor. The bread is perfect for sandwiches, breakfast, or enjoyed on its own. Its light texture and subtle sweetness make it a favorite among locals and a must-try for visitors exploring Trinidad and Tobago's culinary delights.


A collage of images for soups commonly eaten in Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Corn Soup: A hearty soup made with corn, dumplings, and provision vegetables, corn soup is a soul-warming dish enjoyed at various social gatherings. Its wholesome ingredients and robust flavors embody the heartiness of Trinidadian cuisine.

  • Fish broth: A flavorful Trinidadian soup, fish broth combines a medley of fresh fish, root vegetables, herbs, and spices. Bursting with the essence of the sea, this comforting broth is a go-to dish for seafood enthusiasts.

  • Cow heel soup: A robust and hearty dish, cow heel soup is a flavorful concoction made with tender pieces of cow heel, root vegetables, and aromatic spices. This soup boasts a rich and savory broth that is both comforting and nourishing. Cow heel soup is a culinary experience that captures the essence of Trinibagonian cuisine, offering a combination of bold flavors and satisfying textures in every spoonful.

As we bring this culinary journey through the vibrant and diverse foods of Trinidad and Tobago to a close, I invite you to embark on your own adventure of flavors. These iconic dishes explored here represent a gastronomic experience and a passage into the heart and soul of these captivating islands.

Trinidadian and Tobagonian cuisine is a celebration of diversity, a fusion of cultures that dance together in a symphony of tastes and aromas. From the comforting Sunday lunches, where family traditions come alive, to the lively street corners buzzing with the sizzle of delectable treats, each bite tells a story of heritage, warmth, and the pure joy of indulging in exceptional food.

So, whether you find yourself yearning for the aromatic spices of a curry, the savory goodness of stewed meats, or some sweet coconut bake, let your taste buds be your guide. Embrace the unfamiliar, savor the unique, and allow the culinary wonders of Trinidad and Tobago to transport you to a world where every dish is an invitation to connect with the rich history and vibrant spirit of these beautiful islands.

Step into your kitchen, and grab your apron, and let the enticing aromas fill your home. Whether you're recreating these recipes or seeking them out at a local Trinidadian eatery, you're not just trying food; you're experiencing a piece of Trinidad and Tobago. Let the warmth of these flavors spark your curiosity, and may each bite be a celebration of the wonderful tastes that make Trinidadian and Tobagonian cuisine an absolute delight.

You'll discover a world of flavors that will linger in your memory long after the last bite. Trinidad and Tobago awaits you with open arms and a table laden with exquisite dishes. 

Happy exploring!