Eating doubles..

Much of what I know about Trinidad I learnt through my Grandparents. Which is probably why almost everything I do here reminds me of them.

Eating doubles is no exception.

Trindad Doubles

Doubles..

Doubles was always a ‘Saturday morning’ thing in my Grandparent’s house. Grampa would ‘go down d road for a papers (newspaper) and a doubles’ which would probably be somewhere around 7:00/7:30am (wayy too early for me!). So, I would always wake up to soggy..or cold doubles. But doubles nonetheless..

This is probably why I’ve always associated doubles with breakfast..coz that’s the only way I knew them. But after being here for a while, I’m now learning that people also eat doubles for lunch, and increasingly..a late night snack after a night of drinking.

Eating doubles in Trinidad

Pictured: Vashti, a NY based artist and "it girl" (of Trini heritage) eating doubles after a night out in T'dad

I like to think of doubles as the Trinidadian equivalent of a bagels..or for my Lebanese readers, manouche.. They are undoubtedly the most common street food in Trinidad (although gyro vendors are trying their best to change that). They’re probably best described as ‘a “sandwich” made with two flat fried “breads“, called “bara” which are filled with curried chick peas, commonly called channa (from Urdu/Hindi/Bhojpuri “chanaa”) and topped with a variety of spicy chutneys (mango, cucumber, coconut, tamarind) and extra pepper sauce (ranging from a dash “slight” to much more).” source

According to my research,

“Some culinary historians plausibly assume that doubles evolved from the Indian dish Chole Bhature (also called Chana Bhatura), which is a combination of Chole (Chana masala), spicy chick peas and the Bhature (Poori), a fried puffy bread made of maida flour which is used in the making of Indian pastries, bread and biscuits.

The origins of this food began in Trinidad by the Deen family, Emamool Deen (a.k.a. Mamudeen) and his wife Rasulan in 1936 in Fairfield Princes Town. The name ‘doubles’ originated in 1937. When Mamudeen started the business, the products he sold were fried channa wrapped in cone-shaped packs. He diversified his product line soon after by adding curried channa with chutney. He then introduced a single bara with the curried channa. His customers would ask him to “double-up” on the bara hence the name “doubles” evolved and Deen’s Doubles became the pioneering brand.”

Doubles in NYC

A doubles montage made by a doubles aficionado in NYC.. New York City is home to a considerable number of Trinis..

I KNOW I KNOW..for all of my non-Trini readers, doubles looks like the most disgusting thing you will ever eat (wait till you see how they’re prepared!). Doubles is just one of those things that doesn’t photograph well..I must’ve taken at least 10 pictures trying to get at least one that made doubles look the least bit appetizing! But I promise,,they’re delicious!

Since I moved to Trinidad, I’ve been having doubles for breakfast about once or twice a week..(which isn’t helping my carnival diet, that’s for sure). You see..there’s this doubles vendor, Captin Doubles, right by where I live..making eating doubles all to easy.

Captin Doubles Maraval

Captin Doubles in Maraval

While his doubles are really really good (some would even say the best in the country)..I think it’s the captain hat that keeps me coming back time and time again.. I mean, how cute is he?!

Captin Doubles Maraval

A close up of El Captin! He even has a Facebook page..and drive through service!!

Captin Doubles Maraval

His proudly displayed newspaper article..

You can see an online version of the article here. In it, he talks about his humble beginnings..his family..and his average day as a doubles vendor. (He wakes up at 2:00am every morning!) My favorite part of the article? This quote by the Captin: “I want my doubles business to be a tourist attraction. I want them to say, “Hey, I went by a doubles man in Trinidad and he had an automatic sensor bin”Automatic sensor soap. With hand sanitizer, free mints, a call-in service, a drive-through service, and a smile. I want people to say, “Whey! I never see a doubles operation like this before!” I want other doubles and street food vendors to see we can take it to a higher level.”

Well said cap, well said.

Captin Doubles Maraval

The Captin at work.. for all my non-Trini readers..keep an open mind!! 🙂

After he places all of the ingredients into the barra..he then wraps it up into something looking like the below. Many people like to eat their doubles right then and there, at the vendor..but I prefer to wait until I get to work to have mine. As you can imagine, eating doubles is a bit of a mess (although some would beg to differ)..so I guess I like to make my mess in the privacy of my office.. 😉

Doubles Trinidad

My doubles at work..

Doubles Trinidad

getting ready to eat! yummmmyyy!! (that brown thing toward the bottom is a piece of mango, put in there to add flavor)

A post about doubles wouldn’t be complete without this video I found by fellow Trinidadian blogger (and creative jefe) QD Ross.. in which he debunks the myth ‘that eating doubles is messy..’ A must watch for first time doubles eaters and people who are looking to perfect their doubles eating skills. 😉 (EPICWIN QD!)

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18 Comments

Filed under Life in Trinidad

18 responses to “Eating doubles..

  1. yuh doubles info is on point! nice entry. tanx for the props. the captain lookin like a spot to check out though. judging from the colour and consistency, he might be makin my kinda product there. i’ll check him out.

  2. Doubles! I miss them so. Can’t get them so easy like in Florida. I might have to recreate them here in California. Laughed at QD Ross’ video description – “Yuh don’t want to get bounce or shake up” “use common sense here..put a little distance between you and de doubles. ” “lean in”,

    Keep up your blogs, Danielle. I’ll be a frequent follower for sure. Can’t wait to read them around Carnival time:)

  3. Martin Scott

    This is good work and I can smell the doubles ! When I was in school in the 1940’s and early 1950’s there was not only the “fried channa wrapped in cone shaped packs” but also what we called “sorf’ channa” in similar packs. That was similar to the channa in today’s doubles and was my preferred version.
    Loved the video as well. Clear instructions for keeping your shirt clean on the way to work. I saw a Truck Driver eating a doubles while going around the bend by the Hilton and wanted to give him a National Award ! Dat is talent !
    Grumpy Grampa

  4. Sandra Scott Farah

    Fantastic post, Danielle. I have to tell you I learned a few things myself! I also loved the video and I was very impressed by Captin Doubles entrepreneurial attitude … I am sure he is going to be very successful. He is taking the profession to a different level for sure … good for him. One question I have is, do a lot of doubles vendors wear gloves these days? That also struck me and made me think … he is really taking it up a notch. But since I have not lived in Trinidad for over 25 years I don’t know if that is the norm now. Do you know?
    By the way, my mouth was watering the whole time I was reading this post!!!

    • I really don’t think it’s the norm to be honest. I’ve passed by a couple of doubles vendors, and Captin is the only one that I’ve seen wearing gloves. Even the doubles vendor in the video isn’t wearing gloves, so I think that’s what really makes him special! 🙂 He prides himself on his cleanliness..

  5. Cheyenne Baptiste

    Really enjoyed that post Danielle. I’ve never been to Captin Doubles yet but I will definitely try it one day! I’m interested in doing a doubles tour…checking out all of the doubles hot spots across the country…I know it’s quite ambitious but not impossible.

    Great to see the popularity of doubles in the Caribbean diaspora across the globe. I decided to try a doubles in Toronto but it had curry and potatoes inside…I almost cried..made me miss TnT’s doubles. It’s one of the first things we do when we land. Doubles from El Sirocco and a cold Stag.

    These are just a few of the little things that we take for granted in this beautiful country.

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  7. Natasha

    I’m so glad my Trini friend introduced me (of Jamaican heritage) to doubles. The nearest place to get them here in Maryland is at the Caribbean Market in Takoma Park. Man, talk about love at first bite! Yum indeed! I just cannot have the extra sauce, too hot fi mi tenda belly…hopefully I’ll get to have one in TNT one day. Thanks for the post and will take a drive to get my doubles breakfast now…:-)

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  10. Rakhi iIdia

    It is so frustrating to read all of these beautiful recipes and not being able to understand how to make them. Thanks again. family
    http://www.rakhiinindia.in/

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