A proud Trinidadian and “Global Citizen”, Asma Ali is a food, culture and coffee addict who seeks to discover the simple pleasures wherever she goes in everyday life. “Lowkey joys help balance the fast pace and intensity that an Advertising career brings.”
A Creative Director at Ogilvy Caribbean, a fully remote ad agency, she’s able to flex ‘working from anywhere’ and gets the most out of Trinidad for daily creative inspiration. “Living on a small island means you can be anywhere within the space of two to three hours, (traffic permitting) and I love that all it takes is the willingness to jump in my car and start the engine. The only thing holding you back is yourself.”
Get inspired for your next trip to Trinidad with some of her simple pleasures and top things to do in Trinidad.
What’s one hidden gem you recommend visiting or experiencing?
AA: Every weekend, the Chaguanas market comes alive with streamlined, sectionized bursts of vivid colour. It’s surprisingly well-organized, clean and a cheap three-in-one dose of central Trinidadian culture, street food and bargain shopping. A thirty-minute drive from Port of Spain, the biggest challenge is an early rise to maximize the morning.
What is the best place to capture photos in Trinidad?
AA: The street photography opportunities here are endless. Everywhere has a hidden charm, quirk or beauty so I tend to avoid the ‘overdone’ spaces and focus on what tends to go unnoticed. Our island is so rich in character we tend to take this for granted because it’s around us everyday, it becomes wallpaper we just don’t pay attention to.
Peppers at the Chaguanas market / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
A hot and fresh doubles / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
Pineapple at the Chaguanas market / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
What’s your favourite place to eat in Trinidad?
AA: It’s hard to succinctly answer this question as I have a different food for every mood. However hands down, a simple pleasure of mine is standing and enjoying a doubles with medium pepper, extra chadon beni and coconut chutney at the doubles vendor’s cart at the side of the road. I can’t wait to do this again. The further south one goes in Trinidad, the better the barra…
VT: Doubles is one of our most iconic street foods. It includes ‘barra’ which is similar to a fried flatbread filled with curried chickpea and various sweet and savoury toppings. Watch our episode of Tour Trinidad TV featuring southern attractions including L’eau Michel Mud Volcano, Hanuman Statue, Temple in the Sea and enjoying doubles in Debe.
What’s your favourite location in Trinidad to explore?
AA: I can never get enough of the Manzanilla to Mayaro road. Driving through the 20 kilometres stretch of uninterrupted palm trees – A WHOLE MOOD RESET!
Manzanilla / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
What is one must try bucket list experience in Trinidad?
AA: Continuing the vein of keeping it simple, an afternoon walk is a must around the Queen’s Park Savannah, and making a stop to support the local food vendors between Thursday – Sunday of every week. Make sure to also take photos of the sunset and sit on the bench opposite Queen’s Royal College and finishing the day with a cold coconut and jelly. If there’s time, include a trek up and down Lady Chancellor Hill for the views (and step count)! Together, these two activities should run you almost 10 kilometres.
Royal Botanic Gardens by the Queen's Park Savannah / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
Fresh coconut around the Queen's Park Savannah / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
Enjoying lollies (popsicles) at Maracas Bay / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
What’s one local dish that anyone visiting Trinidad should try?
AA: A hot sada roti and tomato choka of course – talk done!
If you could recommend one cultural experience, festival or attraction, what would it be?
AA: Go to Paramin, you can get all three. Take a drive and challenge your car up the winding hills or book a guide for a day trip. Paramin is home to Trinidad’s chive fields, the secret seasoning base to all our unforgettable foods. The soil there is rich- so is the heritage and landscape!
When Trinidad and Tobago Carnival resumes, paying a visit to Paramin Junction Carnival Monday to see the annual Blue Devils performance will become a memory you will never forget!
Paramin / Photo Credit: Asma Ali
Asma Ali and local theatre actress Ria Ali / Photo Credit: Javed Adam
Paramin / Photo Credit: Asma Ali