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Amazing Cuban Sandwich Facts

Did you know ...

  • Cuban Sandwich... that a Cuban Sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers either in Cuba or in the Cuban immigrant communities of Florida, most likely Ybor City in Tampa, Florida?

  • … that later on, Cuban immigrants and expatriates brought it to Miami where it is also still very popular?

  • … that the sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread?

  • History

  • … that as with Cuban bread, the origin of the Cuban Sandwich (sometimes called a "Cuban mix", "mixto sandwich", or "Cuban Pressed Sandwich") is somewhat murky?

  • … that the sandwich became a common lunch food for workers in both the cigar factories and sugar mills of Cuba and the cigar factories of Ybor City around 1900?

  • … that at that time, travel between Cuba and Florida was easy, and Cubans frequently sailed back and forth for employment, pleasure, and family visits?

  • … that because of the constant and largely movement of people and culture and ideas, it's impossible to say exactly when and where the Cuban Sandwich first became a common worker's meal?

  • … that by around 1910, however, workers' cafιs in Cuba, Ybor City, and the older Cuban enclave of Key West were serving many such sandwiches daily?

  • … that in Cuba (where it is more commonly known as a mixto), the sandwich was served in kiosks, coffee bars and casual restaurants, especially in the big cities such as Havana or Santiago de Cuba.

  • … that in Tampa's bustling Latin enclaves of Ybor City and West Tampa, it was served in mainly in cafes catering to workers in the cigar industry?

  • … that by the 1960s, Cuban Sandwiches were also common on Miami cafeteria and restaurant menus, as the city had gained a large influx of Cuban residents after Fidel Castro's 1959 rise to power in their native land?

  • … that the Communist Revolution caused a wave of Cuban expatriates to settle in other locations as well, and they brought their culture and cuisine with them and Cuban sandwiches are now served in various Cuban exile communities in places such as New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Puerto Rico, among others?

Ingredients

  • … that while there is some debate as to the contents of a "true" Cuban Sandwich, most are generally agreed upon and the traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread?

  • … that the loaf is sliced into lengths of 8-12 inches, lightly buttered, or brushed with olive oil, on the crust, and cut in half horizontally?

  • … that a coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread and then roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly-sliced dill pickles are added in layers, with sometimes the pork is marinated in mojo and slow roasted?

  • … that the main regional disagreement about the sandwich’s recipe is whether or not to include salami?

  • … that in Tampa, Genoa salami is traditionally layered in with the other meats, probably due to influence of Italian immigrants who lived side-by-side with Cubans and Spaniards in Ybor City?

  • … that in Miami, salami is left out?

  • … that sometimes, mayonnaise, lettuce, and/or tomato are also added and these additions are often available in restaurants in Miami and Tampa, but are frowned upon by traditionalists there?

  • … that when assembled, the sandwich is lightly toasted in a sandwich press called a plancha, which is similar to a Panini press but without grooved surfaces.

  • … that the plancha both heats and compresses the sandwich, which remains in the press until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted

  • … that the Cuban Sandwich is usually cut into diagonal halves before serving?

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