Ask a Trini : How to order doubles in Trinidad …

Dreaming of one of the following, instantly makes a Trini happy:

  • Being under the bed covers in my parent’s house with the sounds of torrential rain on the galvanized roof – if there is a better sleep in this world, I have not yet experienced it
  • Waking up in the morning to a breakfast of Sada Roti, hot Tomato choka and Baigan Choka with some Fried Aloo on the side with home made Kutchela and pepper sauce – no explanation is required
  • A beach lime to Mayaro/Maracas/Las Cuevas and stopping off at the nearest KFC for a bucket of chicken with two containers of KFC pepper sauce – a good bottle of Glenmorangie or Balvenie is highly optional (Required for me).Beach + KFC = WIN!Beach + single malt scotch + KFC = SUPER WIN!!
    ULTRA WIN!!! for finding a good doubles vendor after the beach lime.

In all the countries I’ve traveled to, people ask me what I miss most about Trinidad, and my answer invariably MUST include “Doubles” and “Trini KFC”. The answer of KFC shocks people, since they are accustomed to the rubbish they eat everywhere else in the world. In Trinidad, the KFC is spicy and well seasoned rubbish. “Trini KFC” and the memory of it has the power to make a Trini wax poetic and reminisce about beaches, liming, sex in cars and carnival all at the same time. There have been many theories about the inclusion of some sort of addictive drug in the KFC seasoning – there has to be “crack” in there. To quote one person”

KFC spicy center breast is one of the best things I ever eat yes!! I know the 24 herbs and spices are supposed to be patented eh but I SWEAR Trinidad KFC have some green seasoning in it oui!

The Trini KFC Facebook group quotes the following

this is for all the people that have ventured outside of trinidad and tobago and have walked into the kernel’s restaurant in new york, miami, dc, toronto and england and have realised that there is no other kfc chicken like the one in sweet tnt. some of yall is rasta and pretend alluh doh eat meat, what u think lion does eat grass???

As for “Doubles”  – It is the quintessential street food in Trinidad, cheap, quick and delicious. You have know how to order doubles. To describe its taste (when you find a good “doubles man” aka doubles vendor) is like taking the best day of your life and putting it in your mouth. A rudimentary definition of doubles is type of fried dough filled with a sort of chick pea mixture laced with 5 – 8 different chutneys.
The problem with “doubles” is that taste a whole lot better than they sound – since it sounds so plain and boring. Like a roti, if you ever see someone eating “Doubles” with a knife and fork – alarm bells should go off since one of the following has just occured:

  • A pure poseur – eating “ethnic food” for the sheer novelty of it
  • It’s someone who met a Trini once and liked doubles/roti but has no Trini friends – Trinis would stop this obscenity in its tracks
  • They’re not eating “Doubles” but rather some flour and chick peas mixture in a Trini store in Toronto, NYC or somewhere in Florida

Even ordering from a “Doubles man” is the simplest of things. You can order one or multiple “Doubles” and there is no such things as one “double” – asking for one “double” is asking for massive laughter at your ignorance.

The singular and plural of “Doubles” is “Doubles”. 

As for the “how to order doubles”, you know only need to know 5 terms, tourists need know the first two terms.

  1. Nothing – Plain, boring and the mark of the utter tourist or someone with ulcers.
  2. Slight – a touch of pepper and sweet chutney – typical tourist order
  3. Regular – Typical Trini order – a little bit of all chutneys and pepper sauce
  4. Heavy/Plenty – Venturing into no man’s land, unless you the know “Doubles man” chutneys well and know that he doesn’t have a really hot pepper sauce.
  5. Kill It – The mark of the expert white rum drinker aka Alcoholic (no more taste buds), the mark of the “Iron Stomach and Rectum” or a “Doubles man” with the mildest hot pepper sauce possible. The “Doubles man” will give you a slight nod of recognition.

Now you know, what I’m having for breakfast and dinner this weekend.

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]