With the glut of Jamaican restaurants near U.S. 441 in Pembroke Pines, June Ali and her husband, chef Badal Ali, decided it was time to show off Trinidad and Tobago's food.
Their restaurant, Hot Peppers, is offering you a (free!) taste of some of the island's cuisine Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. The trademark of the island's food is the myriad cultures that have influenced it and the heavy spice and seasonings, such as culantro, called Shado Beni in Trinidad, found in many dishes.
There's "Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, it's just a melting pot of all cultures, even Spanish and French," she said. "We do roti, which is East Indian with a Trinidadian spin with all different kinds of meat: chicken, goat, and duck. We also do Chinese food with a Trinidadian flavor."
The Alis will be offering Phulourie, fried dough balls served with a spicy mango chutney, as well as shrimp-filled fried wontons and pepper shrimp -- a spicy dish in a soy sauce base glazed with plenty of that spicy, herbaceous culantro.
There will also be Carib's classic Caribbean lager and some of the brewery's fruity, low-alcohol drinks called Shandy Sorrel and Mackeson, a stout brew new to the U.S. If suds aren't your thing, then try some wines provided by Bootleggers Beverage Distributor.
June also suggested you try a Bake 'n' Shark. It's a sandwich of fried bread filled with a crispy fried shark fillet topped with tamarind sauce, lettuce, and tomato, "just like a regular sandwich," she said. Yet it didn't sound too regular, at least not to us, and that's a good thing.
The Alis owned restaurants in Trinidad before moving to Florida 14 years ago so their children could attend school. Badal most recently ran Shoji Sushi on South Beach, but in the past half year, the pair decided it was time to get back to cooking Trinidadian food.
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.
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