We don’t know if it was co-incidence that Dad bought home plantains the same week we decided to travel to Dominican Republic.
Mangú is the official breakfast of Dominican Republic. Back here in Singapore, people commonly head out for a cup of kopi or teh (local coffee and tea) at a coffeeshop in the morning. They can choose to have their caffeine with something savoury or sweet. Whatever the case, warm and crispy toast with kaya (coconut jam) and slabs of cold butter is traditional in our Home country. Let’s just say that our tongues are accustomed to a sweet breakfast.
After procrastinating for a long time as to when we would make Mangú, other responsibilities in life got in the way and the green plantains are still lying in the refrigerator on a Sunday. Tomorrow, we have to pack up our bags and move to another country.
Mango is a simple dish of boiled plantains is made with butter or olive oil. It can be consumed by itself or with hearty and savoury side dishes like salami, fried cheese or even topped with pickle, red onions. During Spanish colonial times, West African slaves had brought this dish to the island.
Slavery in Dominican Republic
Slavery was not new to the country with the arrival of the Europeans. Beforehand, when Christopher Columbus had discovered Hispaniola (1492), the Spanish settlers had already attempted to enslave the indigenous Tainos who were part of the Arawak cultural group.
The Taino population was destroyed by European diseases, and it took the Spanish settlers some time to notice that the Taino population had plummeted from about 400,000 people to less than 3,000 so early during their rule.
Since the Native Americans could not be used for slave trade, the settlers began to import captive Africans but this was after they obtained permission from the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand I and Isabella in 1501. Although the first captive Africans were sold as slaves in Santo Domingo in 1503, Santo Domingo did not flourish as a slave country. This was because livestock had become an important industry there and this did not require much slave labour unlike sugar plantations in the West.