What Makes A Tampa-Style Cuban Sandwich Unique?

When you think of a Cuban sandwich, what comes to mind? Is it the bite of sour pickles, the fresh panini bread, or the savoriness of melted Swiss cheese on top of roasted ham? People have fallen in love with the iconic Cuban sandwich for many reasons. In fact, there are many iterations of the Cuban sandwich out there, from the islands of the Caribbean to the coasts of Florida. With many originating stories and so much variety, the Cuban is a delicious lunchtime meal and a wonderful blend of culture, history, and flavor.

As the name suggests, many believe the Cuban sandwich started in the country of Cuba and dates back to the native Taino tribe (via El Meson de Pepe). As time progressed and the sandwich was introduced to different cultures, each decided to put their spin on it. It's even said that introducing the Cuban sandwich to the Spaniards is why pork was added to the dish. Now, as we're in 2022 and customs, tradition, and culture have gone global — one particular Cuban sandwich style is famous for its preparation and flavor. This is referred to as the Tampa-style Cuban sandwich.

One savory ingredient to transform the Cuban, Tampa-Style

More than just a fan of the Caribbean-descent sandwich, the city of Tampa, Florida, has officially named the "Historic Tampa Cuban" as its signature sandwich, according to WUSF Public Media. In an official vote by the Tampa City Council, the city's most beloved sandwich was voted on within two minutes.

So what makes up the Historic Tampa Cuban sandwich? The unique ingredient is Genoa salami, in addition to the pork and ham, making it a hearty and meaty sandwich. Thankfully for all of us, the Tampa City Council decided not to trademark their signature sandwich in hopes that it would not limit restaurants and sandwich-goers from using its name. Now, it's a welcomed part of the city's history with no limit to culinary creativity.

As far as a compilation of ingredients goes, the Tampa-based Cuban adds a unique twist with the inclusion of salami. As you move to South Florida cities, like Miami and Key West, you may be surprised to learn of the unique culinary twist they add to their Cubans — and what makes them stand apart from the rest.