This Young Man Turn His Love For Trinidadian Spices Into A Business

“My grandma always makes batches of goodies to bring to family members and friends,” says Mannan, a design engineer and N.C. State alumnus who has lived stateside since he was in fourth grade. “When I brought back her hot sauce, [customs] would search my suitcase and ask me what everything was all the time.”

Two years ago, though, some enterprising friends suggested that Mannan skip the line and just make his family’s special pepper sauce here in Raleigh. And now, thanks to that idea, Mannan seems to be on the brink of becoming a legitimate small business owner with a sauce, Trini, that’s starting to spread through Raleigh with the help of social media. 

 “I never really thought about it,” he says. “But then I thought, a lot of people like hot sauce. So, why not?”

Mannan retrieved his grandmother’s recipe from Port-of-Spain, where most of his family still lives. The main ingredient to his family recipe is the Scotch Bonnet pepper; that and papaya lend the sauce its sweetness. Trinidad moruga scorpion chili pepper gives it a kick.  

“True Trinidad sauce has a sweet flavor to it, with a little bit of heat,” Mannan explains.

He, his brother Mikail, and another pair of friends and brothers, Darren and Lance Cassidy, spent hours in Mannan’s apartment kitchen, trying to replicate the flavor of the sauce. But they couldn’t get it quite right.

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