Tasting Table Unearths The Most Popular Food To Buy At A Deli - Exclusive Survey

If you're in the mood for a sandwich, sliced cheese, or pickle, there's no better place than your local deli — they're treasure troves of ingredients, with all kinds of meats, cheeses, sides, and condiments contained within the display case. And thanks to the quality of ingredients, a sub from your favorite deli usually beats any sandwich you'd assemble at home. Delis just know how to do lunch; it's practically a science.

Gothamist outlines the differences between delis, corner grocers, and bodegas, tracing the word 'delicatessen' back to German origins. Yet delis aren't homogenous. There are all different kinds you can visit, whether you're in the mood for German food or Italian meats. In New York, Jewish delis practically warrant their own category, offering pastrami and matzo ball soup as signature ingredients.

While these are surely staples — and delicious ones, at that — Tasting Table's latest survey focused on American classics. We asked 588 people what their go-to deli item was. The options ranged from coleslaw to turkey, but two particular ingredients topped the list. They amassed separate votes, though they often taste best when paired together.

Cheese, then ham, are deli staples

Is there an American sandwich as classic as the ham and cheese? Tasting Table's latest survey would suggest not, as 151 people cited cheese as their deli food of choice. Trailing slightly behind, ham received 129 votes. These numbers equate to 25.68% of the vote for cheese and 21.94% for ham. Collectively, the two topped the charts — and top sandwiches across delis.

Turkey followed ham in the rankings, with 109 votes, or 18.54% of the favor. After turkey, prepared salads received 80 votes or 13.61% of the results. This popular side is easy to grab on the go and tends to complement deli sandwiches. Prepared salads exceeded even chicken in the rankings; chicken rounded off the protein preferences for 76 people, amassing 12.93% of the vote.

The last deli item may have received the fewest number of votes, but that doesn't mean it's not a staple. Coleslaw saw 7.31% of the survey's favor, with 43 people opting for this traditional side. Whether you prefer coleslaw to turkey or cheese to ham, why not save yourself the trouble of choosing — and order a sandwich made with a few different ingredients?