Monday, July 14, 2014

Market Day in Port of Spain

Katie getting some good ocean salmon - yum!
I wanted to visit the big market in Port of Spain before departing Trinidad.  After some initial confusion about various transportation options into Port of Spain, I was set to board a Maxi taxi (mini van) at 6:45AM.  Luckily, fellow cruiser Katie on s/v Mezzaluna wondered up looking for her first market trip as well so we teamed up.  We let the driver know that we wanted to go all the way into the market.  For one extra TT ($6 total), we arrived at the Port of Spain market 30 mins later.

It was huge. This is the biggest market I have been to yet in the Caribbean.  It was fairly clean, organized and the vendors were mostly friendly and not too pushy.

We took an initial spin through to get a lay of the land and then started zeroing in on a few items.  It was really hard as there were SO many vendors.  My guess is that after a few times a person would find their favorite stands and then just stick to those vendors.  As it was, we found a wonderful lady selling spices that took the time to explain all the spice mixes she had.  We learned what was in each one and how to cook with it.  We each bought a spice bundle.  I chose the Geera.  Later, after purchasing fish, Katie bought some more spices from her. 
Locally made - Delish
Another woman insisted we try her various chutneys and hot sauces - V"n" P.  I mean....peppa.  Hot sauce is HUGE in Trini.  Each cook takes pride in their own homemade hot sauce.  However, it's not called hot sauce.  It's just called pepper or "peppa."  Only foreigners say "hot sauce."  When ordering food, locals will ask you "Peppa?" or if you are a white girl like me - "Slight peppa?"  In the market there were many, many stalls with tons and tons of peppas.  Trinidadians were buying them by the giant bags full.  And these are HOT, HOT peppers.  There are several types but the most common is the Congo, a close cousin to the scotch bonnet, with a scoville rating of something like 30,000 for one Congo pepper.  I think the average jalapeno is something like 2500 to 10,000.  Now imagine a sauce made of a big bag of these Congo babies.  Whoo wee!  FYI -The Trinidad Scorpion pepper ranks as one of the worlds hottest pepper.   
One of the small peppa stands
The veg and fruit stands surrounded the entire outside of one of the market buildings.  These vendors were three deep with barely enough room for a single car to weave through.  The meat market was in a building all of it's own.  Chicken, pork, beef and fish were all represented.  I got some wonderful shrimp.  *Thanks Heather on s/v Asseance for the suggestion.  Katie got a lovely ocean salmon.  The fish/shrimp vendors were really nice.  
What a pro.  Katie's fish was cleaned and ready to go in no time
We wrapped up our market visit with the best double in Port of Spain....according to Don on s/v Asseance.  I would agree.  The flavors were awesome.  More to come about Doubles on Beyond Burgoo   
Left to right - salt fish, bowl of pigs tails and cooking oil

Now we just had to figure out how to get back to Chaguramas.  Maxi taxi's at the market don't go directly to Chaguaramas.  We needed to get to the main maxi terminal to catch one of those.  After some confusion and then clarification, we boarded a maxi to the main station.  The driver dropped us off and made sure we got on the right bus to Chaguaramas by stopping right next to the Chaguaramas bus and rattling off a sentence or two - in Trinidadian English (at the speed of light) to the other bus driver....of which I understood zero words!    Exhausted, we arrived back in Chaguaramas 30 mins later.  

1 comment:

  1. This looks like quite the experience! I'll definitely have to put it on my Trinidad bucket list! ;) (Not that I have a trip planned yet, but a girl can dream!)