More and more, what Barbadians buy to eat from the roadside is coming from other countries.
While fish cakes remain a favourite, there are now other delicacies on offer which appeal to certain members of society and are quickly spreading to the mainstream.
One such offering is the Trinidadian treat known as doubles. Owner of the Trini Doubles stalls, Kevin Rondon, boasts of the authentic double, made with absolutely no meat or fish.
“I saw a need for doubles in Barbados,” he said. “Every time I spoke to someone staying here from Trinidad they spoke about doubles and bake and shark. I then had a vision and took a chance and five years later, here I am.”
Trini Doubles has three locations: Rendezvous, Christ Church; Warrens, St Michael, and in Bridgetown by the Tom Adams Financial Centre. Rondon said he was also eyeing expansion to Oistins, Speightstown and Six Roads.
Lisa Ramdat works at the Trini Doubles stall in Rendezvous, although she started in Warrens.
The bright and bubbly woman is Trinidadian by birth but lives here. She said Rondon asked her to sell for him and she jumped at the chance as she was a “people person”. She went on to sing the praises of doubles.
“Everybody loves doubles; they are cheap, taste good and are healthy too. Two doubles and a drink and you good to go,” she said.
As she is not Barbadian, she said they were “one or two” people who gave her a hard time but she was happy overall as doubles were selling like, well, doubles.
As for what goes into a double, she said they were made of things such as bara skin and contained chick peas, cucumber, mango chutney, tamarind chutney but would not say any more.
As Street Beat spoke to them, cars and trucks pulled up throughout the interview, proving the doubles were truly catching on.
Samuel Knight said he got hooked on doubles when he was studying in Trinidad. He is a long time buyer and has been a customer since Ramdat came to Warrens more than three years ago.
“That was breakfast every morning when I was in Trinidad so when I saw this stall here, I had to buy doubles,” he said.
Knight said doubles in Barbados were not the same as the ones in Trinidad but was “a good approximation”, adding he had tasted worse in Trinidad.
Right across the street, Brawta Jamaican patties were on display. Carrie Goodman said they had already sold out and had to replenish the beef patties as they were the most popular. She said she started in August last year and sales were going great.
“The boss is a family friend so he hired me. It’s cool; I like the location and the customers are fun,” she said.
As for the boss, he is Sacha Sooden, who owns the property. In a telephone interview, he said it made sense to sell the patties on land he owned.
“A friend brought them into Barbados and because I own the Vista property, I thought it would be a good place to operate it,” he said. “The location is very central, in the heart of the commercial area. Everybody wants a quick bite to eat, so it is very good and very beneficial to a lot of people in the area.”
Rendezvous is a popular spot indeed as mere yards from where the Trini Doubles and Brawta Patties were selling; there was a Mr Tee’s doughnut shop and a VIP Eats.
Dianne Rock operates the Mr Tee’s. She said business was “in and out”.
“Some days you sell the way you want, others you don’t. It has been slow since last month,” she said.
Rock said the most popular pastries were the chocolate dips and fancy sprinkles doughnuts for children on evenings and the fruit Danishes and cinnamon buns for the working crowd on mornings.
Rock said the best part of her job was meeting people.
“I like meeting people. I get to talk to all kinds of people and hear different accents, some I don’t even know. A lot of tourists come here. I like the freedom,” she said.
At VIP Eats, Janelle Walters sells the more traditional fare such as chicken, chips, pig tails, fish cutters, hamburgers and, of course, fish cakes.
Customer Kimal Callender said he appreciated VIP Eats as it offered good Bajan food while Ryan Ellis said it put something different on the menu as the other places – mentioned previously – were all there first.
As for Walters, she said for the two months she has been working, the business has fluctuated, adding that fish cakes and pig tails were the most popular buy.