**22 July 2016**
On our first visit to Trinidad in 2010 we found the country very intriguing. Its people, who are a mixture of West Indians (descended from the African slaves), and East Indians (descended from those originally imported from India as indentured servants after slavery was abolished), form an interesting multicultural population.
We particularly enjoyed the East Indian foods that we encountered there, most notably a street dish called Doubles that we found sold by individual vendors in small booths around town or out of the back of small vehicles by the road.
Doubles consists of two small fried dough patties called Baras that are filled with a paste of curried chick peas called Channa. They are served on small sheets of paper, and you eat them by hand. It’s a finger food that definitely gets on your fingers. As a courtesy vendors normally provide a container of water with a spigot to wash your hands after enjoying your Doubles.
Doubles are seasoned with various things mixed into the paste that form the signature of the individual vendor. Our favorite was flavored with mangoes and sold by a young guy outside the Boatyard in Chaguaramas, Trinidad where we hauled out that summer to paint Sanctuary. He fed the local workers on their way to work at the various boatyards out of the back of his Hatchback, and if you didn’t get to him by 7:30 AM he was normally sold out for the day.
Vendors always ask how spicy you want your Doubles, and when we say “Spicy” (we like spicy foods) they normally give us a sideways glance and a smile as if to say, “Are you sure, Gringo?” The first time our Boatyard Vendor looked at me funny I told him, “Don’t hurt me now; just make it spicy like you make it for your buddies.” After he watched Carrie and I eat them and not pass out, he knew we could handle it and always asked, “Spicy?” after that when we ordered. We enjoyed his Doubles 2-3 times a week for breakfast that summer, and almost any other time we encountered a Doubles.
Today on our Shopping trip in Grenada at the stop for the ATM, our Driver walked around the corner with something I recognized in his hands and I said, “Is that Doubles?!?” He smiled, showed me where he got them, and as I approached the vendor I found Carrie already eating hers while saying, “I only had enough for one!!” Right. We both enjoyed our first Doubles treat in years out of the back of the vendor’s automobile. Delicious!
Today they cost us $5 EC each (about $2 US), but in Trinidad the vendors only charged the equivalent of 75 cents apiece. No matter, the taste called back many wonderful memories and bought smiles to our faces.