Ropa Vieja
(Photo : Pinterest)

One of the things that make Latin America distinct and unique compared to other regions is its food that represents their culture and heritage.

If you have experienced eating this delicious cuisine, you would know how tasty and nutritious this food is. Typically, its ingredients are made of shredded beef, onions, peppers, and salsa de tomate. However, despite this very simple dish is history that you would never expect.

Ropa Vieja is very popular in the Caribbean region. The term "Ropa Vieja" is translated as "old clothes" in English and it has its origin.

According to its legend, there was a poor old man who shredded clothes and cooked it to feed his hungry family. The old man prayed while the clothes simmered away and it was turned into a slice of meat and vegetables. It was said that the food cured his hungry family. Even though the story is so fantastic to believe but the legend only means that the dish represents a man who supports his family.

Meanwhile, it is also very difficult to trace the exact origin of the food. The two-word term may suggest a clever term for a basic meal but again its legend says a lot. It is also a clear manifestation of Latin America's undying culture of close family ties.

In a recently published article, it was mentioned that the dish originated in the Canary Islands in Spain way back during the Middle Ages. Ropa Vieja was brought in America by the Spanish colonizers and its presence appeared in Cuba in 1857. Another piece of evidence that would support the claim that the dish originally came from Spain is its presence in Filipino cuisine. The Philippines was once also colonized by the Spanish colonizers.

When the dish became popular in the Caribbean and Latin American region, there were many versions of it. In Cuba, the dish is somehow sweet with some twist by putting bell peppers on it. While the dish is typically enhanced with fish sauce and is served with jasmine rice in the Philippines. 

Moreover, in Latin American countries like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and including countries in the Caribbean region the dish is typically served with frijoles, Arroz, and platanos. 

The dish remains until now as one of the best household staples in Spain. This is a very popular cuisine in every household in Spain. The dish is not only rich in history but it is also very delicious and nutritious. The most interesting part is people nowadays who are influenced by the Ropa Vieja still prepare some meat so that they can make 

However, the popularity of Ropa Vieja is not the same anymore as it was before in Cuba. Today, Ropa Vieja is only served for rich and tourists. Eli Francovich from a news outlet, he wrote: "What tourists eat in Cuban restaurants and homes is very different than what the average Cuban eats, he said. The vegetables and meats served to foreigners aren't available in the stores where normal Cubans shop." 

It was also found out that the Cuban government in 1963 made it illegal for Cubans to sell or eat their own cattle. They need to ask first for a permit from their state. The main aim of the law is to restore the nation's herd.

However, the law did not work out. There were 30 percent fewer cattle in Cuba in 2015 compared in 1958. Cubans are still suffering from this problem until today.