Taste of the Caribbean: Bake and Shark at Maracas Beach
The agonizing torture of cuing up for airport security, Customs and Immigration, or some sketchy port-o-let at a fete is certainly among the worst part of anyone’s travel adventures. That goes double for me since 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, a fact that makes Richard’s Bake & Shark the place to eat whenever you’re on Maracas Beach.
As we shared earlier, Maracas is one of the finest beaches in all of Trinidad & Tobago (and the whole Caribbean, if you ask me). A near-perfectly symmetrical bowl of a bay blessed with a steady rolling surf and powdery white sand, Maracas Beach is staffed with lifeguards and offers free Wi-Fi, restroom facilities and concessions galore.
Now, THE thing to try at any of these concessions is bake and shark (or shark and bake, as it’s also known).
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 shark) packed inside a bake, which is basically a fluffy, fried flour-dough. There are all kinds of fixings you can add on – everything from truly Trini favorites like mango chutney, chadon beni and tamarind sauce, to cucumber, tomato, coleslaw, ketchup and mustard – but I like mine just as you see it here, nice and plain in all its fried goodness.
There are quite a number concession huts in the parking lot across the street from the beach where you can sample and enjoy bake and shark, but you likely won’t find a longer line than the one at Richard’s.
They’ve been serving up bake and shark at Richard’s for nearly 30 years. I’ve heard from a few people that he even invented the dish, though I’ve also been told different in some corners…
Almost all agree, though, that Richard’s bake and shark is the best, and he certainly has the line to prove it. I visited right about lunchtime on a Saturday back in January. The wait 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 from our friends at Simply Trini Cooking.