When chefs talk about food with “bite”, they aren’t usually referring to ingredients that can actually eat you alive. But, as one of the Caribbean’s most beloved street foods proves, there are some dishes that can be significantly more dangerous before they go into the oven.
Despite sounding like the result of a brainstorm between Guy Fieri and Steve Irwin, “Bake and Shark” is actually an iconic, indispensable part of Trinidadian cuisine. A blend of flatbread, fresh herbs and vegetables, and actual bits of shark, the dish’s deliciously innocent looking appearance belies the fact that it’s made from rejected “Jaws” auditionees.
As the name suggests, there are two main components to any proper Bake and Shark. The “Bake” traditionally refers to a shallow fried flatbread, which is then split in two for stuffing.
The “Shark” component features freshly caught shark fillets, typically seasoned with lemon, onion, garlic and chilli powder for an extra kick. The meat is then dredged in flour or bread crumbs, before being fried to a golden crisp.
Watch as Shark And Octopus Fight To The Death:
Most commonly associated with the popular Maracas beach, Bake and Shark is also an indispensable part of Trinidad’s carnival and street party scene. However, despite its enduring popularity, the dish has also attracted criticism.
As apex predators, sharks form a vital - and incredibly vulnerable - part of the food chain. Extremely slow to reproduce, they are highly vulnerable to overfishing all over the world, and the Caribbean is no exception. It’s estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed every year, putting the global population under immense pressure.
Perhaps this is why many Bake and Shark stands now offer more sustainable alternatives, such as tilapia and catfish, alongside the real deal. But, whether or not you’re eating actual shark, there’s no doubt that a Bake and Shark sandwich remains an essential part of Trinidadian dining.