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FoodThe Ropa Vieja story

Reading Time: 2 mins

Posted on the 23 June 15

Ropa Vieja, the national dish of Cuba, is a meal that is steeped in history.

This rustic, humble dish so perfectly tells the story of the country’s culinary and cultural evolution over the last half-century. It’s fascinating – and a perfect read if you’re feeling a little hungry – so, ropa vieja. What’s it all about?

Like many great parts of Cuban culture, ropa vieja started life in Spain. Its name literally translates to ‘old clothes’ and the story goes that a penniless old man once shredded and cooked his own clothes because he could not afford food for his family. He prayed over the bubbling concoction and a miracle occurred, turning the mixture into a tasty, rich meat stew.

Now, we’re not totally sure that this story is absolute fact but it’s wonderful nonetheless. What we do know is that the recipe for ropa vieja is over 500 years old and originated with the Sephardic Jews in the Iberian peninsula of Spain. Because cooking was not allowed on the Sabbath, the Sephardi would slow-cook a hearty stew the night before.

The dish then travelled to the Americas with the Spanish people, where it became a staple dish across the Caribbean and Cuba. And although the recipe has been tweaked over the years, the fundamental base of ropa vieja remains today as it always has.

Fancy an authentic taste of Cuban cuisine?

Our seasonal food menu changes regularly, but one thing we’re always serving up? Fresh, authentic Cuban flavours and Latin-inspired food to feed your tropical soul.

If you’re feeling hungry after that history lesson, then reserve a table and try us out!


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