What Makes TikTok's Chopped Italian Sandwich Unique?

Few platforms consistently have their finger on the pulse of new trends like TikTok — for better or worse. The butter board slapped, Pink Sauce (despite the odds) served, and "Girl Dinner" rizzed up home cooks and nutritionists alike. Now, one particular sandwich is taking the social media app by storm, and it's an avant-garde yet faithful reimagination of the classic Italian cold cut sub. It uses all the traditional ingredients foodies know, love, and expect from an Italian sammie ... so, what's all the hype about? It all comes down to one thing: texture.

Introducing the "chopped Italian" sandwich. The original viral TikTok was posted on March 19 by user @Big_Erics_BBQ, and has since garnered 449.8k likes and over 4,500 comments. To make it, all the ingredients (condiments included) are tossed together on a cutting board, finely chopped, then served as a sandwich. We're talkin' thin-sliced ham, salami, pepperoni, raw red onion, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, salt, pepper, Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, and mayo, all combined in one homogenous dice. 

Then, using the back of the chef's knife you used to chop it all up, simply push the ingredients into "portion size" strips and scoop them up with the sandwich bread. It's effectively an antipasto salad in a hoagie bun — and, according to food TikTok, it rocks. Still, the sentiment isn't exactly unanimous.

TikTokers talking texture

Since @Big_Erics_BBQ's post, countless other TikTokers have posted their own video recreations of the viral chopped Italian sandwich. But, its popularity hasn't stopped the sammy from garnering some "choppy" reviews (pun intended).

Depending on who you ask, the chopped Italian isn't much to look at, aesthetically. What it boasts in "rainbow color palate" it suffers by way of "wet mass of fillings." (A popular comment is that the sandwich looks "pre-chewed.") But, to others, the creation really isn't all that different from a "chopped cheese," the beloved NYC deli classic. Folks likely dig it for the same reason they dig chopped salads. Plus, not only does the chopped Italian's unexpected texture make for a fun sensory element, but it also ensures even ingredient distribution (i.e. no bites where it's just a mouthful of tomato). TikTok users have been sounding off with customization suggestions from chopped spicy jalapeños to tangy dill pickles and pepperoncini.


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♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

As a moderate approach, what the unique chopped Italian sandwich may lack in presentation it makes up for in utility. It can be premade, wrapped in parchment paper, and popped in the fridge as make-ahead meal prep for school or work lunches. Plus, the loose recipe makes this sandwich highly customizable, not to mention a thrifty way to use up whatever ingredients you have lying around. You may even be able to streamline the thorough chopping process with a food processor.