What's Really In A Cubano?

Of all of the sandwiches in all the world with the multitudes of sauce combinations, kinds of meats and cheeses, and veggie possibilities, sometimes the a classic is simply the best. 

Entering from stage left with a bang is the flavorful Cuban sandwich, or Cubano for short. It is a quintessential Cuban-American dish that packs a punch and enjoyed everywhere (though particularly in certain parts of Florida). Historian Andy Huse told the Tampa Bay Times that Cubanos are believed to have originated in Cuba alongside a bevy of other dishes from the country. It was then brought to Florida by immigrants looking for work in the states, particularly to Tampa and Miami. For many of the hard labor immigrant workers, the Cubano was an extremely tasty, very hardy meal option that was densely compact enough to carry around. This made it a perfect sandwich to take to work, per Thrillist. As the Americans saw, smelled, and eventually tasted these sandwiches, the Cubano's popularity grew, eventually becoming the iconic sandwich that it is to today.

Origin stories

As with all great dishes, lots of different people, regions, and families have their own twists on the classic Cubano, including a recipe that has a variety of different spice combinations. No matter what spin the individual sandwich maker takes, Cubanos have certain key ingredients that are always included. They are seated on sweet Cuban bread, piled high with soft, juicy roasted pork and ham, lined with sour pickles and swiss cheese, and brought together with the warmest mustard and butter you can find, per Simply Recipes. Toast it all in a sandwich press, cut diagonally down the middle, and you've got one of the most iconic sandwiches this side of anywhere. 

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Ybor City's Cuban sandwich was declared Tampa's signature sandwich in 2012. This move garnered some dirty looks from other cities (notably Miami) that also laid an ideological claim to the Cubano. Loaded with history and heritage, Cubanos are not just heavy with roast pork and ham, but in heritage and tradition This makes the sandwich a bonafide Cuban-American classic.