My life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one where I try very, very hard not to gain weight. Everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE I look, Vincentian food is tempting me. If it is not succulent fried chicken, or yummy brown stewed fish, it is one of my favourites, ‘tri-tri’. I went to my very good friend’s birthday celebration recently, and they served tritri cakes. Remember tri-tri? I described it to you once.
Tri-tri is this amazing little fish that makes a trip on moonlit nights from the sea to the point where the fresh water meets the salt water. Then the little tri-tris swim up the river into man-made road-blocks designed to trap them. When they are caught and get to the local markets, thousands of Vincentian grandmothers make batters with flour, spices and tons of lovely West Indian flavour, then they spoon them into shallow oil or deep oil (it depends on what shape they want) until they are all golden and quite honestly yummy. They can come in little balls or wide fritters, and be served with or without a spicy or peppery dip.
Yes, tri-tri is one of my favourite things, and the actual catching of this little delicacy has become a popular tourist attraction at one of the resorts that has a river running through it. On moonlit nights people gather on the sides of the river and contentedly watch the catching of the tri-tri and then at some point in the future they get to sample them!
To dispel the effects of yummy Vincentian food, I do one of several things:
- I do Pilates and
- Cardio and
- Boxing and
- Yoga and then
- Last, but certainly no least, I play squash
I mention these things because I want you to know what St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a modern country and that while small, all the amenities are here. So, please don’t be concerned about eating too much tasty West Indian food. Come over and partake; we are a healthy society with lots of safe, smooth roads and hills to challenge you.
If you plan to visit good ol’ Vincy, as soon as you land at E.T. Joshua Airport, ask a local where to find one (or all) of these victuals for sustenance before starting your adventure. If you’re a Vincy, well, you already know.
- Roasted Breadfruit and Fried Jackfish: You just can’t say no. It’s the National Dish…and it is delicious!
- Callaloo Soup: Different callaloo from the Jamaican variety (and to die for in a soup. There are as many variations as there are cooks who prepare it. It’s delicious with crab, conch, beef, chicken and with a plethora of local vegetables.
- Patties: Again, different from the Jamaican variety that’s garnered international fame. Vincentian Patties are essentially little, delicate pies filled with ground meat. One of my absolute favourites!
- Souse: Now, souse is traditionally made with pig’s feet but I have also had a delicious version with conch. Yum! Souse is the chosen meat in a spicy, limey sauce. It can be served hot or chilled or anywhere in between with roasted breadfruit.
- Blackfish: I’ve been all over the Caribbean and I’ve not seen this anywhere else. It’s very unique to St. Vincent. Blackfish is actually pilot whale and in St. Vincent it’s prepared in a similar fashion to saltfish (traditionally salted cod). It’s torn into small pieces and sautéed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper and other spices.
- Shark and Bakes: Shark seasoned and fried to a wonderful crisp and served with proper Vincy bakes (fried bits of yeasty dough), crispy on the outside and moist and fluffy on the inside.
- Peleau: This is like the Vincentian version of paella – a delectable one-pot dish with rice, meat (could be beef, could be chicken), and sometimes peas. It seems basic enough but the addition of browned sugar makes this dish’s flavor one-of-a-kind.
- Tri tri cakes: Little fritters made with tri tri, teeny tiny little river fish seasoned to exquisite gastronomic perfection.
- Goat water: Yes. It sounds a bit manky, but it is delicious. It’s not just water with bits of goat in it (Ew!) as the name might suggest. Instead expect a super flavourful, spicy soup with ground provisions, green bananas and of course goat.
- Bread!: Yes, a shocker. But Vincentians have a special relationship with bread. They’re like bread wizards, bread aficionados. Try any type. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much better it is than the stale one that sits on the supermarket shelf for days that you normally buy.