Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Maracas Drive Food

Have we taken street food to another level? It seems that the world is just beginning to discover Trinidadian food. I say this because for a long, long time, most Caribbean food was lumped under one banner. Trinidad's cuisine is different to any other island. In fact, each island is entirely unique. Certainly there may be general culinary adages such as rice and peas but for the most part, each island has very different cuisine.On the way to Maracas beach, the street vendors have taken street snacks to a new level. Pineapple and mango chow with heavy doses of chadon beni, fudge and salt prunes are just some of a few of the things that you can snack on while driving along the winding coastal road.
For all of us who grew up in the seventies, our school yard diet was a steady stream of red mango ( bright red pickled mango that had a chinese origin) and salt prunes which we would store in the pockets of our convent skirts and suck surreptitiously through the sticky, humid after lunch periods. We also lived for sno cones, aloo pies and tamarind balls.
Dixie biscuits and crix have always been in our lives. I don't know who the first baker was who miraculously stumbled upon the first crix recipe. I hope it was a Eureka moment. Little did he know the role that this little biscuit would play on the national stage.

My daughter has only just learned the joy of chow. Mango chow, cucumber chow, pineapple chow. If it grows on a tree, chances are that it can only be improved with a little lime, salt, garlic, chadon beni and pepper. I still love the bite and peel delicacies that appear throughout the year. Topi Tambo (or Tippi Tambo if you are from South) with its crunchy water chestnut/potato texture, Chataigne, the delicious bread nut, Peewah with its bright orange skin and nutty kernel are just some of my favorite things. I am never happier than when I am reading on the couch on a Saturday afternoon with a big bowl of anything that I can peel and eat.
A true farine and avacodo kind of girl.


Dana said...

Hi! I randomly found your blog because we had some similar interests.

I think you would like to check out my blog about women's and health-


Hope to see you around the site!
- Dana

Barbara said...

As always a very interesting post. But this time I had to take my dictionary in order to get some translations. When you write about "chow", is this a sort of soup (chowder)? If yes, you probably serve it cold, don't you? I do envy you for all the wonderful fruits you have growing on your island. A lot of them you can buy here in special shops too (not all the time of course!), but I don't think they taste as good as they do in your country when freshly harvested.
Have a nice day! Greetings from rainy Switzerland!

Sofi said...

Hi Sharon,

on my way from UK to Sweden to Libya which is our new destination. I look up your blog every now and then when I feel a particular longing for Trinidad.
It's lovely (your blog that is ).
take care,

Nicole said...

What great pics. Sorry we could not get together last week but I ran out of time-I was there primarily on business, which had to get done. Funny enough, I took pics of my drive from Mayaro-Manzanilla for my blog. Great minds think alike!

Karen said...

Oh, that bottled chow is making my mouth water! And that fudge looks great too! I was introduced to pineapple chow after I moved to the US and was visiting Maracas on holiday - simply delicious!
Unfortunately, I have trouble getting suitable fruit for chow-making here.

My Chutney Garden said...

Hi All,
Techie difficulties had me down and out for awhile but I'm back up.
Dana- I'm going to stop by and visit.
Barbara- Thanks for coming by- chow is a type of pickle made with lime, salt and pepper. It can be very tart and spicy and as a nation, we love it.
Sofi- Hi, I never told you goodbye. :( Everybody from riding has gone. Please keep in touch.
Nicole- Chancy and I were wondering about you. Next time!
Karen- Girl, you can chow anything. Just add salt, lime, pepper and garlic. When I'm desperate, even apple works. :)

Chennette said...

Oh, these are lovely photos - especially since I haven't had nay chow for a while...of any kind! Although I did drive up to Maracas for bake and shark the last time I was home.

3limes said...

Hi! Just stumbled across your blog. I have been here close to 2 years and I am in love with Chow. I will be posting a blog post about it soon.
Check out my blog that is many times Trini, sometimes not.

Nativa said...

Wow it is great reading about my trini culture in this depth. I am a trini living in the British Virgin Islands and I went home last November for my daughter's graduation. We drove to Maracus Bay (I have not been there in years) and we too stopped at this spot. We went 'crazy'! The first thing that my mother had was the tulum! There were so many treats that I have not eaten in years.
Reading your post, I realized as the auther of www.whatocook.com, I neglected to make the most of this event to write about it in my website. Ah well- next time!