Bake and Shark at Maracas Beach – A True Taste of Trinidad
The agonizing torture of cuing up for airport security, Customs and Immigration, or some sketchy port-o-let at a fete – these are certainly among the worst parts of my travel adventures. Indeed, despite my laid back island upbringing, I have no patience. Plus I travel all the time. Yeah, I’m used to the tedium of TSA, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! About the only places where lines and waiting are welcome to me are the various local eateries I tend to seek out on my travels. Nothing says great food quite like a long line! This makes Richard’s Bake & Shark the place to eat whenever you’re on Maracas Beach.
Marvelous Maracas Beach
As we shared earlier, Maracas is one of the finest beaches in all of Trinidad & Tobago. (Actually, the entire Caribbean, if you ask me.) A near-perfectly symmetrical bowl of a bay blessed with a steady rolling surf and powdery white sand, Maracas is all kinds of heaven.
Unlike many of our favorite beaches around the Caribbean, Maracas is staffed with lifeguards. Visitors here also enjoy free Wi-Fi, restroom facilities, and concessions galore.
Now, THE thing to try at any of these concessions is bake and shark. (It’s also known as shark and bake.)
Anatomy of a Bake and Shark
Just as the name says, and as you can see in the photo above, bake and shark consists of seasoned deep-fried shark meat (usually blacktip) packed inside a bake.
What’s a Bake?
Caribbean cousin to our beloved Crucian Johnny Cakes, bakes are fluffy and fried flour-dough treats. They make a nice snack all on their own, or with a little sliver of cheese. As the “bread” in the bake and shark “sandwich,” though, they’re phenomenal.
Now, there are all kinds of fixings you can add on to flavorize your bake and shark. Everything from truly Trini favorites like mango chutney, chadon beni, and tamarind sauce, to cucumber, tomato, coleslaw, ketchup, and mustard are generally available.
Personally, though, I like mine just as you see it pictured above; nice and plain in all its fried goodness.
Richard’s, The First Name in Bake and Shark
There are quite a number concession huts in the parking lot across the street from the beach. Several boast bake and shark on their menus. It’s very likely, though, that you won’t find a longer line than the one at Richard’s.
They’ve been serving up bake and shark at Richard’s for more than 30 years. Some say he even invented the dish, though I’ve also been told different.
Almost all agree, though, that Richard’s bake and shark is the best. He certainly has the line to prove it. The wait during my visit on a Saturday in January was a good 25 minutes just to get the bake and shark! If you’re keen on trying the condiments, be prepared to wait even longer as that line is even longer!
Even with the scorching-hot sun that day, no one really complained, though. The wait at Richard’s is usually pretty long, but the pay off is always worth it!
(If you’ve got even less patience than me, or you can’t get to Maracas any time soon, here’s a great recipe.)
Getting to Richard’s Bake and Shark
The drive to Maracas Beach from Trinidad’s capital, Port-of-Spain, takes anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour. The long and windy road takes you up and along the north coast. It’s an amazing drive offering fantastic views of Trinidad’s mountainous, verdant, and heavily forested coast. Once there, Richard’s is easy to find. Just look for the concession stand with the longest line.
Also, if you’re in Port-of-Spain, but don’t have time to make the drive to Maracas, never fear! Richard’s Bake and Shark in the City offers a taste of Maracas Beach amidst the hustle and bustle downtown.