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There are only a handful of foods we’d travel across town for in Friday afternoon traffic and until we tried Trini Style Cuisine in Inglewood, we didn’t know a fried shark sandwich was one of them.
The Trinidadian takeout counter/outdoor restaurant, located in a strip mall down the street from Dulan’s, serves bake ‘n’ shark on Fridays and we’re still replaying that first bite in our head: sitting under an umbrella inhaling a glorious sandwich of puffy fried bread and crispy chunks of shark, all smeared with avocado, tamarind sauce, and mango chutney.
A little context: Trinidad is home to a large Indo-Caribbean community, which means you’ll often taste a spice-rich Indian influence in many of the island country’s classic dishes, whether that’s garlicky goat curry, juicy chicken roti wraps, or chana-stuffed doubles swaddled in turmeric-colored flatbread—all of which you’ll find chef-owner Merlin Clovis cooking up at Trini Style.
The restaurant is only open Friday through Sunday, and the chalkboard menu next to the counter will look different depending on which day you visit. The good news is you will eat very well no matter when you show up. Fridays are reserved for street food, including doubles and that fantastic bake ‘n’ shark sandwich. Saturdays are dedicated to roti and curry plates, while Sundays feature Trinidad-style brunch platters involving macaroni pie, braised callaloo greens, and your choice of stewed chicken or oxtail.
Their shaded, open-air patio is a great place for a relaxed lunch or early dinner before an event at SoFi Stadium, and there’s usually a steady stream of regulars picking up to-go orders. Make sure you grab one of their housemade drinks too, like the tart-refreshing sorrel tea or pineapple-ginger juice. We love that Trini Style might be the only restaurant in LA serving Trinidadian cuisine at the moment, but even if that weren’t the case, it still would be one of our favorite weekend lunch options in town.
The foundation of this saucy masterpiece is two pieces of turmeric-colored fried flatbread called bara, which are covered with a scoop of chana—a chickpea curry that’s thick and fragrant with spices. The whole thing gets topped off with tangy tamarind sauce, mango-habanero chutney, and a refreshing, rough-chopped cucumber chutney. Each bite is creamy, slighty chewy, and brightly flavored—a mini-symphony of taste and texture. Your fingertips will be covered in chutney and chana and it will be glorious.
Bake ‘n’ Shark
Certain species of shark are popular as seafood in Trinidad, thanks to their mild sweet taste and meaty texture. They also show up in some pretty incredible dishes at Trini Style, like this puffy fried flatbread sandwich stuffed with deep-fried shark and an array of toppings. The meat itself is tender and flaky, battered and fried until golden-brown and crunchy. A melange of spicy-sweet sauces and chutneys are slathered on thick, while the creamy avocado that clings to the fry bake bun is an ideal compliment to an otherwise salt-rich dish. Easily a top seafood sandwich in LA.
At first glance, these snackable fried balls resemble hush puppies or donut holes. They’re actually made from the same dough as the bara, with a bit of garlic and hot pepper mixed in for kick. They arrive warm from the fryer and come with a side of mango-habanero chutney and tamarind sauce that you can (and should) mix together for dipping.
Curry Goat Bowl
The chunks of goat in this dish slide from the bone like they’ve been slow-cooking for hours. The curry broth is dark and rich from a herby, peppery blend of spices. Served with fried cabbage, a couple sweet plaintains, and a bed of steamed rice, this dish hits you with a whiff of onion, ginger, and cilantro from the moment you open the container. Even if you’re filling up on other snacky dishes, get at least one order to share.