Taste like smells takes us back into a place and time. In the day to day, the thing I miss most about home (Trinidad) is swimming in the sea. It’s become like an ache, for some reason, I like being close to the water. I miss the peacefulness that washes of you when you stand in awe of the wide open sea and hear the rumble tumble of the waves. Food I don’t really miss. Over the years I’ve found places that purchase many of my favourite things and I’ve even come to accept drinking coconut water from a box. What get to me is the snacks! I never really know that I miss it until I get some as a treat, when a friends brings some back for me. Recently I received some Trini snacks and it took me right back to my childhood.
My dear friend Mr A is quite generous at bring me back some treats that both he and my mum source. This year I got:
- Chein Pi Mei (Chinese preserved plum)
- Tullum (molasses and spice flavoured sticky sweet)
- Kiss Cakes (cream filled cakes made by a Trini bakery named Kiss)
Those are the treats of my childhood. I’ve introduced them to kids but they only like the Kiss Cakes. Hubby also had fond memories of Chein Pi Mei. He said he also had them as a child. Its got a salt and sweet flavour with a slight sticky feel. There are other Chinese snacks I had as a child that he also knows. We sometimes by them at the Wing Yip Store in Purley. He was amazed that I knew them but then there has been a Chinese presence in Trinidad since the early 19th Century. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Trinidad on a ship named Fortitude on October 12, 18061. They have made their mark in the community in many ways, as well as introducing many foodie delights.
The Tullum I kept for myself, because it’s an acquired taste… they don’t have to acquire it. Yes, I can be greedy. I don’t know anything about the history of the sweet. However, making an educated guess since it’s usually Afro-Trinidadians who make it, I’d say it may have its roots in history of slavery and the sugar cane plantations. Its made of aromatic spices and molasses. Molasses is a dark brown sticky juice which is a by-product of refining sugar. In Tobago you can buy another sweet called Bene Ball that’s made of sesame seeds, as well as aromatic spices and molasses. I’ve not had that one in years.
Between you and me, hubby and I have been nibbling our snacks after the kids go to bed. I’ve had their share of Kiss Cakes, though. Every island has its own special sweets, but if you are every in Trinidad you also should have Chill Bibi and Red Mango/pepper Mango (it’s a preserved Mango). There are also quite a few Indo-Trinidadian sweets that I LOVE, such as Burfi, but I can get those in Tooting Broadway. I sure you can find then in any part of the UK that has a large Hindu community.
What are you snack treats from childhood. When was the last time you’ve had it. I’d love to hear from you.