Welcome back to Trinidad and "Breaking Biche". It's like Breaking Bad but without the drugs. It just means instead of working, you pack up the car with a cooler full of cold ones, get some beach towels and take to the windy road up to Maracas Bay. It's here at Maracas, you will find that the dogs may or may not be allowed on the beach, the clouds hook themselves up on the mountains, a freaking rock that looks like so many you collected in your childhood may be found buried in the sand, and a bake and shark dressed up with island specialty condiments is what's for brunch.
Not allowed? Or allowed? The sign seems to be altered some how. I'm so confused.
Hello? Yes. This is a dog. Wait. Dog...what are you doing on the beach? I... hm. The plot thickens.
You never fully appreciate things until your access to them becomes that much more difficult. Visits to the beach when I lived in Trinidad always happened during "summer" breaks (with only wet and dry seasons in Trinidad, there is no real thing as "summer". It's just a phrase we used because it happened the same time as U.S. Summer vacation). I was never one for the beach - the sun and swimming in the ocean never appealed to me - but I do miss the simple joy of getting my feet wet, burying them in the sand when the waves washed over them and of course, what I miss most was just the hanging out there with friends (what we Trinis call "liming").
You'll need a beer for the beach. Okay, you don't have to have one but I could not let my friend J. drink by himself, so I opted for a beer called Carib. He judged me for choosing the inferior beer to his Stag. Had I known he was going to judge me, I would never have had a drink at all!
Any good 'lime' (hang out) comes with food and at Maracas you will find a sandwich made from a fried bread called a 'bake' stuffed with a piece of fried shark. Much like anything can be curried, the same can be said of frying things. Trinidadians are good for that and sharks are not spared either. Though I was told by one of my friends that he's not so sure it's shark being used anymore. I would not be surprised the shark population has decreased significantly around the island due to consumption but I did not get the details.
Here's something that's NOT on the menu. Nope. This fish was not part of my meal but it washed up and some vultures were rather happy with their find. Can you blame them? Oh? You thought this was a SnackTAYku that was going to be appealing? Well it is! It is! I just thought I'd share this with you before hand. I'm a cruel person, it seems.
Also not on today's menu. Awww, poor little crab... Why aren't you in a pot? Such a waste...
Tasty in its own right, a bake can or cannot be too heavy in dough thickness. I like mine light and they should always be eaten just after coming out of that pot. Tossing a piece of cheddar cheese in it and watching that cheese melt is a simple joy in life. Maybe slice an avocado in there too or put some salted codfish and you're set. However, putting a fried piece of shark takes things to a different level of wonder. While it's great on its own, a bake and shark is only complete when you've dressed it up with all manners of toppings. With so many to choose from, it's a matter of preference on your taste, honestly but these are the ones that I think are a MUST.
So let me get this clear one time. We parked on the wrong side of the beach and went to the wrong Bake and Shark place. There's the famous "Richard's" which I recommend you go to if ever you're in Trinidad. While this one was good, Richard's is just better but the concept and condiments are the same. Wait...I forgot to have a Greensands when I was in Trinidad. NOOOOoooooo (it's a drink and now I feel stupid).
In these little metal containers, there are great, secret things that will make your bake and shark sandwich even more fantastic. Okay, maybe they're not so secret to me but here's a guide on what I got this day.
Again, shado beni. An herb used commonly in seasoning for Caribbean food.
Mango chutney: grated mangoes with herbs and some salt. In a bake and shark, it's great to add for a hint of sweet.
Doesn't look too good, right? I can assure you it is. Tamarind Sauce/chutney. It's good for a sweet and tart at the same time sort of flavour.
Garlic sauce because garlic is wonderful. It can be as overpowering as you want it to be depending on how much you like your garlic. My sister put quite the bit and even then it did not do anything to overpower the rest of the things I put in there. It really made everything taste that much better as garlic tends to do.
Here is my boring sandwich before everything was added It's okay just plain but not great and you'd really be doing it an injustice to have it plain. And while I did not include pictures of the other things that went on, I also added pineapple slices for more sweet and tang and also some cabbage for even more of a crunch to the already crunchy texture of the battered fish.
And here it is with everything mentioned. Looks a right mess, yeah? It is. Unfortunately, the bake bottom did not hold together when I was eating it and it just sort of fell apart but it sure tasted great going down. Even if my fingers got messy as all heck.
Insides! All the toppings covering up the lightly fried shark. Yes. I am going to pretend it was shark and that I was not lied to.
This is a close up?!
While I found this one to be pretty good, I think I had it in my head that I really wanted the bake and shark from Richard's instead because I kept remembering those good times. I have a picture from that time... Behold! Look at all the yummy things in there! Look at them!
cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes... yup. And look at that bake! Yum!
Bake and shark is definitely something to have while in Trinidad. You get to enjoy the company of friends, chat a while, eat some good food, get your feet wet and take a dip if you want. And after those clouds that were hooked up on the mountains start gifting you with a passing rain - one you can enjoy by standing there on the shore, rain drops falling heavily on you for a while while listening to the waves and looking out into the ocean and thinking about what lies ahead on that fast stretch of water behind the small body of land - you take one last swim, knock the sand out of your slippers and head back to the car while looking forward to your next adventure...
Those funny clouds. Ah but look! Some sun is peeking through. It always seemed to rain just after lunch, an observation made by H1 the Swan and how true it was.
Yup. The rain cometh. But it left almost as fast as it came. Apparently the clouds are always there, hooked up on the mountains. It's just nature, after all.
I can barely see my little body of land under all those rain clouds. But I know it's there...
...until the next adventure, TAY!
Update: I'm not so sure why Nach thinks there is a competition. We're just two people, sharing our love of food from different parts of the world with TAY. Plus I've won already hence the no competition part. Ha, no. I am only kidding! Please notice he fights dirty by speaking on political dissent and tugging at your heart strings that way. Also, he threatens me with meals prepared by his entire *mafia* family. For shame, Nach. For shame.
Visit TAY Classic for sharks. They're gonna get you! Ahaha, that's why you should catch them and eat them first. If you have no interest in sharks, then you should go there to discuss life, video games and whatever else you want. If you have any questions on how TAY works, then take a read of the TAYtorial. Do it!