Wooden panels at the entrance of a driveway are painted red, green, yellow and black; the stereotypical colours of Jamaica. The flag, screaming with pride, is plastered onto the walls lining the perimeter of a narrow space. Sweet and spicy smoke spills onto the street and reggae rhythms fill empty airwaves on Maraval Road. There’s no mistaking that there’s a new food truck in town where the healthy G-Spot was once parked up just shy of one month ago. The new Rahtid Bites is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in this space—it’s something reminiscent of Kingston.
Yesterday, on its first day of business in Port of Spain, professionals from the area lined the driveway in pouring rain; some with umbrellas, others without. Many restaurants in Trinidad have tested their hands at jerk but authentic Jamaican food is hard to come by. Word of mouth is that Rahtid Bites is the real deal—we stood in the rain, too, because we wanted proof.
About a decade ago, Jamaican-born Jacquie Watson-Diaz, the owner of Rahtid Bites, started hosting an annual Independence Day barbecue at her home, strictly serving Jamaican eats. With each passing year, more and more friends begged her to open a restaurant of her own. She finally caved.
In November 2016, Jacquie opened her first food truck based in San Fernando at 25A Circular Road. On special occasions, the team at Rahtid Bites drives the truck all over the country, attending family days, fetes and office meetings, offering full meals and cutters-style bites. Even though the main dishes are made from Jacquie’s tried-and-true recipes, she’s not the head chef. She does, however, make the jerk seasoning in batches to last a few weeks at a time.
Although the kitchen inside their second food truck is tiny, the restaurant’s menu is expansive. You’ll wonder how they do it. Escovitch fish, steam roast fish, festival, “yaad style” jerk pork, jerk chicken, patties, oxtail stew, pepper shrimp and burgers. This doesn’t include the long list of sides, all the beverages and specials.
With the help of Usain Bolt and Barak Obama’s ‘Lightning Pose’, your eyes automatically move from the order window to the right side of the truck where images of all their lunch options live. So many options make for tough choices. We ordered almost everything on the menu and picked our favourites, so you wouldn’t have to.
To find out more of what we thought of Rahtid Bites, visit propaeats.com