Topi Tambo

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Topi tambo { Calathea Allouia (Marantaceae)} sometimes called tipi tambo by some Trinis is a tuber that is popular around Carnival/Lent time because that is when it is ready for harvesting.

Growing The Topi Tambo Plant

They usually grow in “patches” (our Trini term) and according to the size of the “patch”, can yield hundreds of topi tambo. Based on experience, I find that topi tambo likes to grow in loose soil so much so that sometimes gravel may be added to the soil to improve the soil’s crumb structure and the plant’s yield.

How to Cook Topi Tambo

Anyhow, this month while at the market I saw some topi tambo and bought them to boil later that day. We usually boil the topi tambo in salted water for about 20 to 30 minutes. I feel in the future I would like to experiment with this tuber a bit and do something else with it. Maybe a stir fry recipe, or a salad.

The texture of topi tambo is like that of a water chestnut; nice and crunchy. The taste is similar to corn, but not as sweet. However, I find that the added salt brings out the topi tambo’s flavour a bit. When boiled, the tough outer skin is peeled to reveal the white tuber.


Topi Tambo
So, if you ever see this tuber on sale and wondered what it was; now you know. Here’s another delicious and natural Trini favorite Topi Tambo. Enjoy!

Wash and scrub the topi tambo properly to remove the excess dirt.
Place in a large pot and add enough water to just about cover the topi tambo.
Add salt to taste.

Boil for 20 – 30 minutes

And that’s all there is to enjoy a wonderful bowl of topi tambo; an all natural snack grown in Trinidad and Tobago. Coming up next …What’s coming up next? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see but I assure you it is delicious. Ah gone!:-)

Enjoy topi tambo.


  1. Lemongrass says

    growing up my dad grew these. I have not had them in years, would like to grow some. Moved back to Grenada two years ago and am on the hunt for them. Thanks for the photos.. Cannot wait to have some steamed topi tambo with some turmeric lemongrass sauce. I also enjoyed them in vegetable soups.

  2. Ian says

    Great post! I am eating a bowl of topi tambo as i read this article! I feel as though it tasted better as i saw ur pictures. lol. Do you happen to know the benefits of it tho? that’s what i was looking up when i came across your article :)

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