Monday, January 24, 2011

Trinidad and Tobago street food entry #1

Trinidadian street food is a mix of Indian, Creole, and other yummy culinary traditions. This Saturday, my husband and I had a craving for the ultimate Trinidadian comfort food - Corn Soup. 

Corn Soup is sold in giant vats in makeshift tents by the side of the road, or, in this case, at the street food bazaar that magically appears Friday to Sunday evenings at the Queen's Park Savannah. Usually a massive, empty, grassy lot, this part of the Savannah transforms into a kind of tent city, where vendors park their mini vans, open the trunk, put up a tent, and set up shop to sell home made Trinidadian goodies. 

We made our way straight to the corn soup lady before she ran out of the good stuff. Corn soup reminds me of Colombian ajiaco. Both of these soups are heart-warming, guaranteed-to-make-you-smile broths in which corn plays a vital role. Corn soup has a few more spices with a bit of a kick, however, and is served with pieces of corn-on-the-cob and what they call "dumplings", which are small balls made of dough. The soup is made of dahl (red lentils), pumpkin (like the one I told you about last time), corn, and hot pepper. Delish.

Also available at the Savannah street food tent city (I baptized it like this - I don't actually know what its called) were cow heel soup, chicken wings, bbq pork, pig tail, fresh fruit juice, and something called souse. It can be made with different proteins, but the base is usually the same - a kind of pickled cucumber sauce with spices and who knows what else. This vendor was offering chicken feet souse, and to be honest, I couldn't bring myself to taste it. I have tried souse made with a part of a pig I couldn't even identify, and to be honest, it was not my favorite thing in the world. Actually, it was downright nasty. It was like a pork intestine ceviche gone awry. 

Having waved goodbye to the souse, and holding on to our beloved corn soup, we returned to our SUV, opened the trunk and joined the other street food tailgaters on that warm, Trinidadian Saturday afternoon. Children were running around and in the background you could hear the boom boom boom of the soca beat...Carnival time is here. Are you ready?


  1. Great reading V! Really enjoying your perspective on my local foods. Must say though that souse, specifically chicken foot souse is one of my all time favourite Trini foods. You just can't get that delicious tangy, salty, limey, cucumbery flavour anywhere else. I am a bit surprised that you weren't able to taste it - after all you have eaten 'warthog in peanut sauce in a remote village in Equatorial Guinea, Africa. Fat ants in Colombia and fried grasshoppers in Mexico'. So chicken foot can't be that bad ...can it???

  2. ok, so i'll take this as a challenge! let's go to the savannah this weekend and i'll taste the souse. after all, i would not be a very good food traveler if i were to say "yucky" to something! i'll give it a try and have an open mind.