Category Archives: Trinidad

A taste of Lebanon in Trinidad

Even since I landed in Trinidad, I’ve been on a mission to find the best Lebanese cuisine. There is a very healthy Syrian/Lebanese community in Trinidad, and their presence can be felt all throughout the country. According to the The Syrian Consulate in Trinidad, “The Syrian Lebanese Community in Trinidad and Tobago has long been known as shrewd businessmen and hardworking entrepreneurs. They are closely-knit and struggle to maintain their past, holding on to Syria in their cuisine, their language and their family lives. They establish their own entertainment clubs, like the Syrian Lebanese Women’s Organization in order to interact with people of their own background even though they insist that Trinidad and Tobago is their home and their first priority.” (Funny fact: Most of the time, people of Arab descent in Trinidad are collectively referred to as “Syrians.”)

Anyway, I’ve discovered (with the help of friends) three places so far: Joseph’s, Little Beirut, and Adam’s. I’m actually quite impressed at the quality of the food here..it really is on par with the Lebanese food I’ve had in Beirut. I sat down with Joseph, the owner of Joseph’s and Little Beirut, to talk a bit about how he came to Lebanon. Apparently, he was visiting some family in Trinidad in 1986..and when he tried to go back home, the airport in Beirut was closed because of the war. He ended up staying in Trinidad, where he sold gyros on a street corner to earn a living. His hard work eventually paid off, and his restaurant Joseph’s is well known throughout Trinidad as one of the best places to get authentic Lebanese cuisine. The most impressive thing about Joseph’s though, is that he even imports Sohat water from Lebanon! Talk about authenticity!

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

The entrance to Joseph's.

source

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

Saidaaa in Trinidad!

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

Joseph, the owner of Joseph's takes authenticity so seriously that he even imports water from Lebanon!

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

ok..so pic is a bit blurry.,but you get the point. I was drinking Ksara blanc de blanc all night..

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

Kibbeh Nayyeh!

Joseph's Maraval, Trinidad

Yummmmm

These photos are from Joseph’s other restaurant, Little Beirut.

Little Beirut One Woodbrook Place Trinidad

Little Beirut in Trinidad

Little Beirut One Woodbrook Place Trinidad

Oh yeah!

Little Beirut One Woodbrook Place Trinidad

Loving the mosaics!

Little Beirut One Woodbrook Place Trinidad

a little twist on Fattoush..

Little Beirut One Woodbrook Place Trinidad

Nothing like a little Turkish coffee to wake you up.

And these photos are from Adam’s Bakery and Specialty Bread shop..

Adam's Bagels and Specialty Breads Trinidad

Didn't know there was such thing as Vegetable Kibby

Adam's Bagels and Specialty Breads Trinidad

Taboulie!

Adam's Bagels and Specialty Breads Trinidad

Ah'len - A culinary journey through the eyes of the Syrian Lebanese Women's Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

So, there you go! A taste of Lebanon in Trinidad..

23 Comments

Filed under Trinidad

Lebanese weddings in Trinidad

make front-page news!

Trinidad Guardian

Anthony Sabga III weds! (The Sabga family is the wealthiest/most powerful Arab family in Trinidad..and it's no secret, obviously.).

Trinidad Guardian

Close up of the happy couple!

Trinidad Guardian

just in case anyone was wondering..she is of Lebanese heritage!

Incredible.

19 Comments

Filed under Trinidad

Pour some cocoa on me!

Trinidadians love to party..or as we say, ‘fete’..as in the French word for festival, celebration, or party. Like Lebanon, Trinidad has been influenced by a number of different cultures – Spanish, British, French, African, and Indian being but a few who have left their distinct mark on this country. These influences are truly what makes this island of only 1.3 million people  so incredibly unique! (You thought Lebanon was small? Trinidad is tiny!)

Take (one of the many) parties I went to this weekend for example – Cocoa J’ouvert. J’ouvert (pronounced ‘joo-vay’) is a street party where people spread paint, mud, oil, and cocoa on each other (sounds amazing right?!?) while dancing to Calypso and Soca (Trinidadian music). The party starts at around 2:00am/3:00am in the morning and lasts until about 9:00am! With peak party time being around dawn. (Madness, I know!) Usually, J’ouvert is only in February or March, as it signals the beginning of Carnival… But Trindadians love to party so much that they couldn’t wait..and decided to throw a J’ouvert in July party!

Beach J'ouvert

J'ouvert!

Trinidadian J'ouvert

Now that's what I'm talking about!

image credit

J’ouvert is celebrated on many islands in the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sint Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. It’s also celebrated during New York City’s West Indian Day Parade held on Labor Day, Notting Hill Carnival in London, and Miami Carnival..in, you guessed it, Miami! New York City, London, and Miami all have significant Caribbean ex-pat communities. I used to go to Jouvert every year with my Trindadian/Jamaican friends in Miami.

Trinidad Carnival

J'ouvert fun.

 image credit

The term J’ouvert is a contraction of the French term “jour ouvert” meaning dawn/day break. (I know many of you reading this speak French, so bear with me on the translations here). Sources differ on the exact origin of Jouvert and Carnival..some say it was brought over by the French and others say it was brought over by African slaves. (I think it is a mixture of both!) But according to the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Tourism,

“Like the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures that shaped the island, Trinidad’s Carnival has many influences. The Spanish and English colonial powers, French planters, African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, and the many other ethnic groups that settled here have all left an indelible mark on the festival.

In 1783 the French brought their culture, customs and Carnival, in the form of elaborate masquerade balls, to Trinidad along with African slaves. The period stretching between Christmas and the start of Lent was a time for feasting, fancy dress balls and celebration for both the French and British. Banned from the festivities, slaves in the barrack yards would hold their own celebrations mimicking their masters’ behaviour while incorporating rituals and folklore. Once slavery was abolished in 1838, the freed Africans took their Carnival to the streets and, as each new immigrant population entered Trinidad, a new flavour was added to the festivities. Today, our diverse culture has influenced the music, food and traditions of Carnival.

Trinidad Carnival

J'ouvert is only the beginning of Carnival..after J'ouvert, people put on beautiful costumes and parade through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad

image credit

Trinidad Carnival

Carnival beauties!

Each year at 4 am on Monday, Carnival begins under a cloak of darkness. Fuelled by exhilaration and the energetic rhythms of soca music, revellers take to the streets for the predawn party of J’Ouvert.

J’Ouvert (from the French ‘jour ouvert’ or ‘day open’) is almost ritualistic in its celebration of the darker elements of the island’s folklore and history. Bathed in chocolate, mud, oil and paint, bands of revellers depict devils, demons, monsters and imps. Choose your medium of expression; J’Ouvert is a time for loosening of inhibitions.”

So early Sunday morning (3:00am!) I headed to Cocoa J’ouvert with some friends of mine to lose our inhibitions!..I had gone out the night before until about 3:00am,,so I was exhauuuuusted! But in all of the years I have been coming to Trinidad, I have never gone to J’ouvert before and I thought that now was as good a time as any. We stayed until about 6:30am,..I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. But the party was only just getting started! Some of our friends ended up stayed till 9:00am if you can believe it!  As I said, Trinis love to fete..

I know I’m taking a risk by showing you this side of my culture..you are probably going to think Trindadians are insane..But hey, this is Trindad! As my Dad put it so eloquently the other day, “Our culture is about drinking and partying!” lol. So, without futher ado, here are some photos from Cocoa J’ouvert!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa J'ouvert

Me getting cocoa-ed up!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa J'ouvert

attack of the cocoa!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa J'ouvert

Madness!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa J'ouvert

Friends at J'ouvert!

Cocoa J'ouvert Cocoa Devils

Friends at J'ouvert!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa J'ouvert

I took a picture of this one lady who was drinking out of a pvc pipe she made into a cup! lol!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa Jouvert

Cocoa Jouvert!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa Jouvert

Cocoa!

Cocoa J'ouvert

Love it!!!!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa Jouvert

The party was still going strong at 6:30 in the morning!

Cocoa Devils Cocoa Jouvert

Wining at J'ouvert! (Wining is Trinidadian slang for dancing)

And this was the last shot I took before heading back home! By this time, cocoa had gotten all in my camera, so all of my pics were coming out blurry!

Cocoa Girls Cocoa Jouvert

Last shot of the night/day

So, what do you think of J’ouvert?!?! :D

34 Comments

Filed under Trinidad

Home in Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago

The view from my Dad's house in Trinidad

Look what I woke up to this morning..isn’t it just breathtaking? A world of difference from my view in Beirut!

I’m so happy to be home in Trinidad, you have no idea!..Its been three long years since I was last in this beautiful country..and I can’t wait to see what excitement and adventure the next three weeks holds!

I have a couple of things I need to take care of at the moment..so I can’t write a more detailed post now..but I will soon! In the meantime,  I leave you with this video of my country, Trinidad.

11 Comments

Filed under Trinidad

Trinidad Carnival 2011

Carnival.  The one time of year in Trinidad when everyone forgets their differences..takes to the streets..and parties with each other for 2 days straight!  As a Trini, I will say our carnival is only rivaled by Brazil’s Carnival.  And for an island of a little over 1 million people..we put on a pretty good show!

Here are some photos from this year’s carnival which took place last week, March 7th and 8th.  Most of the costumes you see below are handmade.  Preparing for carnival is a year round process for those involved.  But, it’s so worth it!  Just look at the beautiful results!

Devinath photography

Carnival beauty..Gabrielle Walcott Miss Trinidad and Tobago World 2008

Devinath photography

Love the headdress!

Devinath photography

Wendy Fitwilliam. Trinidad's very own Miss Universe 1998. Check OUT that costume!

Devinath photography

Carnival queen..

Devinath photography

It's carnival time again!

Devinath photography

whooaaaa nelly! That's quite the costume!

Devinath photography

Miss Trinidad and Tobago 2008

Devinath photography

What a beautiful shot! Carnival fun..

Devinath photography

Yes yes..men also take part in Carnival..but women are just so much prettier to look at!

Trinidadian youth participate in Carnival as well!  Check out these photos from “Kiddies Carnival.”

Devinath photography

Wheyyyyyy boy! Check out this costume!

Devinath photography

Little lady!

Devinath photography

Moko jumbi (that's what this is called)! Youth on stilts during Trinidadian Carnival.. Don't try this at home!

Devinath photography

Beautiful..

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Yup, Lebanon needs a Carnival!

These amazing photos were taken by Trinidad based photographer Devi Nath

P.S. My Dad sent me the link to these photos..he was in Trinidad for Carnival, and thought I should share them with all of you!

Thanks Daddy!

14 Comments

Filed under Trinidad