Trinidad and Tobago’s cuisine is diverse as our different ethnic groups and cultures allow for a variety of food to be available daily. From roti to pelau, doubles to bake and shark or corn soup to curry crab and dumplings anyone could find a type of food to satisfy their taste buds.
Despite TT’s variety in cuisine, some are still finding ways to create innovative dishes or delicacies.
Pholourie is a type of delicacy that has lost some popularity as it was once more accessible throughout the country. Doubles has taken over as the most sought-after street food over the last 20 years, but thanks to one woman and her family, pholourie is making a come back.
Sabrina’s Exotic Caribbean Fusion Ltd, operating on Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook over the past four months, is providing something new. Customers can taste stuffed pholourie with chicken, shrimp, crab, smoked salmon and cream cheese or steak and cheese. For those who like to keep it simple plain pholourie is also available.
People have already been rushing to the food outlet to sample it.
During a visit to the food truck, Sabrina Nicholls took time away from serving customers to explain the concept.
“We are really in existence for about 12 years, believe it or not. We would normally do pop up shows in different places. One question is what made us come up with this creation?”
Nicholls is a fine dining chef who always admired TT’s indigenous foods including our street food.
“It could stand up to any French style dish, anything from Italy…I wanted to have a product that is a cross breed. Holding on to the indigenous flavours, but yet still showcasing it and serving it in an upscaled form or in a different form. (It is for) the person who really likes to hold on to the childhood food, like the pholourie or doubles, could still have some of that but still have some of the classy, fine dining taste that comes with it.
“We are really trying to showcase our local cuisine in a different light. One that could really stand up to any international dish that it has out there.”
Speaking more about the goal of her business, she said, “It looks different, but trust me when you taste it it will remind you of the little Tanty that use to sell the kurma at the side of the road.”
Nicholls does her research and said when she watches the Food Network Channel people are experimenting in the food business. “There are no rules,” she said.
Nicholls has been delighted with the response.
“The customer feedback has been overwhelming good. We still had the die-hard (people saying) leave the thing how it is…but people were so happy especially where the world is going now. Food is no longer something that could just stand on a stool, you need to evolve.”
She has realised pholourie is not as popular as it once was.
“What I saw was a new sense of pride for things that was almost like a dying breed because people stop making pholourie. Long time everybody use to make pholourie…now you have to search (for) pholourie.”
Sabrina’s is also creative with their sauces as pumpkin and pineapple, sorrel and paw paw, passion fruit and pineapple are some of the options available to eat with the pholourie.
It is a family team at Sabrina’s.
“Our team is not a very big team. It is a family affair. It is basically five of us which includes my daughter, myself and my husband. From time to time we will have (more staff) according to if we doing events or if we doing something bigger than what we have here we do have stand by staff.”
Nicholls always had an interest in creating unique foods.
“I was always fascinated with taking normal food and turning it into something extraordinary…what really pushed me to be as creative as I am is because I competed for seven years. I was on the national culinary team. I would go abroad and compete – England, Miami, St Lucia, Puerto Rico.”
She said when she travelled overseas as captain of the culinary tean the TT chefs would always use local flavours and ingredients.
This reporter tried the stuffed pholourie and it was definitely something unique that everyone should sample.
Sabrina's Exotic Caribbean Fusion's pholourie is available from Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm. However, from May 25 to 27 they won't be at their Woodbrook location because of a previous business engagement.