Sunday, June 20, 2010


Doubles are like the bagels and cream cheese, the muffins, or the doughnuts of Trinidad. Sprinkled throughout the country, you’ll see the umbrellas, coolers, and lines of people holding their hands close to their mouths eating doubles. For 4$TT, you get two circles (thus the doubles) of barra (fried, flat dough) with a curry channa (garbanzo beans) on top. Toppings vary: the sweetest come with mango and tamarind, the freshest come with chunks of cucumber and shado-beni, and the spiciest come doused with pepper sauce. The most experienced vendors flip the ingredients from multiple containers onto the dough with Olympic efficiency and accuracy. Doubles only ever come plural; don’t make the mistake of ordering a double…people will stare. The idea is to find the vendor whose doubles matches your doubles dream and then visit them religiously. Tom, not a religious man before moving to Trinidad, has vowed to eat doubles every day of his last week here.

Beyond sustenance and spice, doubles supply conversation and competition. People compare and contrast vendors for hours, and the more detailed and opinionated you are in these conversations, the more respect you earn. Aaron does all right since he and Tom travel vast distances on the pot-holed Trini roads to sample doubles around the island. He can wax well about the 7 PM Valsyn guy, the 3 PM lady by the big tree in Diego Martin, George’s on Ariapita, George’s Ex, D&A, the DDI family, the UWI stand, and then the multitude of vendors in Tunapuna, but the airport stand gets his top vote. Bringing coworkers, family and friends, or students doubles in the morning earns you days of appreciation.

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