Doubles a treat and a half for any Trini or anybody who enjoys a good curry. What are they? I’m so glad you asked. ‘Doubles‘ are a popular savoury pastry filled with curries peas, originating in one of the Caribbean culinary capitals that is Trinidad & Tobago.
Tucked inside two flaps of soft yet supple fried flat bread called “bara,” are curry channa peas (chick or garbanzo peas) topped with delicious garnishes of spicy cucumber, tamarind chutney, pepper sauce (if you ask) and sometimes chadon beni.
Wrapped in wax paper, before you get to the (ideally) warm bara and delicious filling.
If you get ‘doubles’ from a really generous doubles man or woman, the channa will be in a small river of sauces. No plate of fork needed; it’s a napkins-only hands-on situation. I could eat ‘doubles’ and dahlpuri with butter daily, left unto myself. Growing up with a Trini mum, Godmum and tanties has many culinary benefits, like: arepa with melted cheese fah breakfast, pholourie and vegetarian pastels (using seasoned soy), and ‘doubles’, roti, pak choi, aloo pie, callaloo, chow and kurma as often as possible. The list could go on.
A few years ago, Trini ‘doubles’ were introduced to Barbados. Known for fried fish stalls at Baxter’s Road (in town) and now more so Oistins (on the south coast), this curried vegetarian finger food has slowly but surely established a place in the tummies of many.
Not only are they an extremely affordable food in general – between Bds.$3.50 – $4.00 (a few dollars more than in T&T), the channa and bara are kept warm and wrapped (and topped) while you wait. It’s now customary in Barbados (and standard in Trinidad and Tobago) to see a small line of patient patrons patiently lining up for ‘doubles’ during lunch breaks, supermarket stops, bank errands, and road trips.
You’re likely to see someone dressed in a fancy suit, someone gliding in on a skateboard, and someone balancing two children lining up for this hands-on culinary delight. ‘Doubles’ fans come from all walks of life and will wait in line patiently for the best ones. When it’s good, it’s good! When it comes to ‘doubles’ and roti, I can be a bit tough where authenticity in flavour, ingredients, prep and presentation are concerned, but I enjoy them so much still and try to get the closest to the signature food that’s tough to match.
In Trinidad, ‘doubles’ stands are in abundance from morning til morning in some areas. From the moment you land at the airport, on the outside, ‘doubles’ stands are literally around the corner. It’s expected that you’ll eat at least one ‘doubles’ while waiting for your full order to be completed. They’re that delicious! No one’ll judge you for standing one-side and eating the first while you wait for the rest.
Where to find doubles in Barbados:
- St. Michael: Wildey Main Road (opposite the supermarket and gas station by the turn to go to The Pine.) This was (to my memory) the first and authentic Trini doubles stand to start up in Barbados and to this day has the most flavour-filled ones and best service. They seal the ends of the bara properly so the filling stays in. There used to be a doubles shop upstairs Cheapside Mall but since updating this post in 2023, the sign isn’t there again so for St. Michael (on the border of Christ Church it’s Trini doubles street food. Bds.$5. for one doubles.
- St. Philip: Six Roads (in the car park obliquely opposite the gas station entrance)
- St. James (border): Warrens carpark behind the gas station
- Christ Church: Mac Dee’s (in Oistins on the front road close to the stage at Bay Gardens Bds.$4.00 for one doubles), Rendezvous Main Road, Quayside Mall and opposite outside Kooyman complex on the highway by Kendal Hill)
If you’ve tasted some ‘best’ doubles in Trinidad & Tobago, you might be picky about authenticity too when it comes to getting them anywhere else and what might be a first try for someone is probably a no for you so those are my recommendations so far. I’ll refresh this post if any new ones pop up and if you find or try any new ones, please comment and let us know too.
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