Aplatanado is the word at the confluence of our culture and our food, it describes what it means to become Dominican.
| Lee en Español |
Years ago my friend and then-roommate and I were regulars at Santo Domingo's Chinatown, an uptown section of Santo Domingo that Chinese immigrants (recent and older) have made their home. It's a vibrant community full of inexpensive restaurants and shops. A few of the "locals" didn't yet speak any Spanish, and some spoke Spanish with a heavy accent.
In a little shop tucked into a hidden spot between two buildings, a young man who could still barely speak Spanish was moving to and enjoying some loud bachata. I remember my friend commenting that he was almost fully aplatanado.
If you're Dominican I am sure you know what that word means. If you're not, I'll explain.
Roughly, and translated literally, aplatanado means "being plantain-like". In this context, however, it has a different meaning: It's used to describe a foreigner who has adopted our country's customs .
This word is also used in Cuba, where "acubanearse"  is more common. In some countries, aplatanarse means "to surrender to indolence or inactivity, especially due to the influence of the environment or tropical climate".
As plantains are a traditional, indispensable, and favorite addition to our daily meals, they have apparently been chosen to represent our sense of being Dominican in the same manner that people from the US have chosen apple pie.
In our country, being told that you're aplatanado is a compliment. It means that you've been accepted and that we consider you to be one of us.
You don't have to be a Dominican citizen to be aplatanado. Actually, it implies that you're a foreigner who has adapted to our culture. Being aplatanado means that you eat our food, have learned to enjoy our music, and have come to love our country--warts and all.
So, if you recognize yourself in our stories, and you're familiar with the taste of the dishes on our site, if you crave sancocho every time it rains, and you know the difference between locrio and asopao, if you know what dishes go with tostones, and which go with fritos maduros, we hereby declare you Officially Aplatanado.
- Orlando Inoa, Diccionario de Dominicanismos. Sto. Dgo: Ed. Letra Gráfica, 2015. Pag. 20
- Diccionario Real Academia de la Lengua Española (DRAE)