"Our business has been slow because a lot of people have been laid off with Covid, so everyone is opening a little doubles stall somewhere," said Araby. "Some of my good customers have opened up a doubles business."
While this overflow of doubles vendors – particularly those with mass-market products – potentially threatens to reduce the dish to little more than fast food a la McDonald's or Starbucks, Araby takes these developments in his stride. He remains confident that his secret technique and recipe, which includes a special curry powder, will allow his establishment to stand out and retain its place among the many potentially fly-by-night vendors who are likely to abandon the business once the economy re-stabilises.
Today, nearly 100 years on, doubles remain a family business for both the Deens and Alis. Araby's adult children – Ameera, Arifah and Arif – are all involved in the business, as is 14-year-old Zakiyyah, whose dream is one day to expand into the United States by starting his own dedicated doubles restaurant in New York or Miami, where there are large Caribbean populations.
"Doubles have come down from our forefathers for generations," said Araby, who has prepared doubles around the world, including for the faithful when making Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, in 2005.
"I hope we can expand. I hope we can take it to the next level one day."
Ramin Ganeshram is a journalist, historian and author of Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago.
Culinary Roots is a series from BBC Travel connecting to the rare and local foods woven into a place’s heritage.
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