The Delicious Delight of Cape Town’s Famous Gatsby: A Must-Try South African Dish

The Gatsby sandwich is a beloved and iconic food item in Cape Town, South Africa. This massive sandwich is known for its generous portions and diverse range of ingredients. It has become a staple in the local street food scene and is a must-try for visitors to the city.

The Gatsby sandwich is named after the famous novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby.” It is said to have originated in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, which is known for its vibrant and diverse communities. The sandwich gained popularity among the working-class communities in the 1970s and has since become a cultural icon in the city.

Key Takeaways

  • Cape Town’s Famous Gatsby is a popular sandwich that originated in the Cape Flats area.
  • The Gatsby Sandwich has a rich history dating back to the 1970s when it was created by local shop owners.
  • The Gatsby is made with a variety of ingredients including chips, meat, and sauces, all piled high on a long roll.
  • First-timers should know to specify their desired size and toppings when ordering a Gatsby.
  • The best places to try a Gatsby in Cape Town include Mariam’s Kitchen and Super Fisheries.

The History of the Gatsby Sandwich

The exact origins of the Gatsby sandwich are unclear, but it is believed to have been created by the Cape Malay community in Cape Town. The Cape Malay people are descendants of slaves brought to South Africa from Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia, during the Dutch colonial period.

The Gatsby sandwich has evolved over time, with different communities adding their own unique twists to the recipe. Originally, it consisted of a long roll filled with polony (a type of processed meat), chips (French fries), and a variety of sauces such as ketchup and mayonnaise. However, as it gained popularity, people started experimenting with different fillings and toppings, resulting in a wide range of variations.

Ingredients Used in Making the Gatsby

Traditionally, the Gatsby sandwich is made with a long roll or baguette that is filled with a combination of polony, chips, and various sauces. Polony is a type of processed meat similar to bologna or baloney. It is thinly sliced and often fried before being added to the sandwich.

However, there are countless variations of the Gatsby sandwich based on personal preferences and regional differences. Some popular additions include steak, chicken, viennas (sausages), fried eggs, cheese, and pickles. The sauces used can also vary, with options such as peri-peri sauce, chutney, and mustard being common choices.

How to Order a Gatsby: Tips for First-Timers

IngredientsBacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and bread
PriceVaries by location and restaurant, typically between 8-15
Preparation Time5-10 minutes
CaloriesApproximately 500-800 calories per sandwich
Popular VariationsAvocado, turkey, egg, cheese, or different types of bread
Ordering TipsSpecify any modifications or substitutions, ask for recommendations from the server, and be prepared for a messy but delicious sandwich

Ordering a Gatsby for the first time can be a bit overwhelming due to its size and the numerous options available. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

1. Decide on your filling: Before ordering, think about what type of filling you want in your Gatsby. Do you prefer polony, steak, chicken, or something else? This will help you narrow down your options when looking at the menu.

2. Choose your toppings: Consider what toppings you want to add to your Gatsby. Do you like cheese, pickles, or fried eggs? These additional ingredients can enhance the flavor and texture of the sandwich.

3. Specify your sauces: Don’t forget to specify which sauces you want on your Gatsby. Popular choices include ketchup, mayonnaise, peri-peri sauce, and chutney. Feel free to mix and match to create your perfect combination.

4. Share with friends: The Gatsby sandwich is massive and can easily feed multiple people. Consider sharing it with friends or family members so that you can try different fillings and toppings without feeling overwhelmed.

Common mistakes to avoid when ordering a Gatsby include underestimating its size and not specifying your preferences clearly. Make sure to communicate your choices clearly to the person taking your order to ensure that you get exactly what you want.

The Best Places in Cape Town to Try a Gatsby

If you’re looking to try a Gatsby in Cape Town, there are several places that are known for serving up delicious versions of this iconic sandwich. Here are some recommendations:

1. Mariam’s Kitchen: Located in the heart of the Cape Flats, Mariam’s Kitchen is a popular spot for locals to grab a Gatsby. They offer a variety of fillings and toppings, and their sandwiches are known for their generous portions.

2. Golden Dish: This family-owned restaurant has been serving Gatsby sandwiches for over 30 years. They are known for their flavorful fillings and crispy chips. The restaurant has a casual and welcoming atmosphere, making it a great place to enjoy a Gatsby with friends.

3. Eastern Food Bazaar: This bustling food court in the city center offers a wide range of international cuisines, including a delicious Gatsby sandwich. Their version is made with tender steak, crispy chips, and a variety of sauces. The food court is always busy, so be prepared to wait in line during peak hours.

Gatsby Variations: Vegetarian and Halal Options

For those who follow vegetarian or halal diets, there are options available to enjoy a Gatsby sandwich without compromising your dietary restrictions.

Vegetarian options for the Gatsby sandwich typically include fillings such as grilled vegetables, falafel, or paneer (Indian cheese). These alternatives provide a similar texture and flavor profile to the traditional meat fillings.

Halal options for the Gatsby sandwich can be found at certain restaurants that specialize in halal cuisine. These establishments use halal-certified meats such as chicken or beef in their sandwiches. It’s always a good idea to check with the restaurant beforehand to ensure that they can accommodate your dietary needs.

The Gatsby’s Popularity Among South Africans

The Gatsby sandwich holds significant cultural significance in South Africa and is beloved by people from all walks of life. It is often associated with the working-class communities of Cape Town and is seen as a symbol of resilience and creativity.

The Gatsby’s popularity can be attributed to its affordability, versatility, and generous portions. It is a filling and satisfying meal that can be shared among friends or enjoyed as a solo indulgence. The sandwich’s ability to cater to different tastes and preferences has also contributed to its widespread appeal.

Gatsby vs. Submarine Sandwich: What’s the Difference?

While the Gatsby sandwich may bear some resemblance to a submarine sandwich, there are key differences between the two.

The Gatsby is typically larger and more indulgent than a submarine sandwich. It is known for its generous portions and diverse range of fillings and toppings. The Gatsby is often shared among multiple people due to its size.

In contrast, a submarine sandwich is typically made with a smaller roll and contains a more limited selection of ingredients. It is often associated with delis and sandwich shops and is popular in many parts of the world.

Gatsby and Cape Town’s Street Food Scene

The Gatsby sandwich plays a significant role in Cape Town’s vibrant street food scene. It can be found at food stalls, food trucks, and casual eateries throughout the city.

The Gatsby’s popularity among food vendors can be attributed to its affordability, ease of preparation, and ability to cater to a wide range of tastes. It is a crowd-pleaser that appeals to locals and tourists alike.

Customers flock to these street food vendors for their delicious Gatsby sandwiches, often enjoying them as a quick and satisfying meal on the go. The Gatsby has become synonymous with Cape Town’s street food culture and is a must-try for anyone visiting the city.

The Gatsby’s Influence on South African Cuisine

The Gatsby sandwich has had a significant impact on South African cuisine, both in terms of its popularity and its influence on other dishes.

The Gatsby’s popularity has led to an increase in the number of establishments offering this iconic sandwich. Many restaurants and cafes now include Gatsby sandwiches on their menus, catering to the demand from locals and tourists alike.

In addition, the Gatsby has inspired the creation of other dishes that incorporate its key elements. For example, some restaurants offer Gatsby-inspired burgers or pizzas, which feature similar fillings and toppings. This shows how the Gatsby has become a source of inspiration for chefs and food enthusiasts in South Africa.
The Gatsby sandwich is a beloved and iconic food item in Cape Town, South Africa. Its origins can be traced back to the Cape Malay community and it has since become a cultural icon in the city. The Gatsby’s popularity can be attributed to its generous portions, diverse range of ingredients, and affordability.

When ordering a Gatsby for the first time, it’s important to consider your preferences for fillings, toppings, and sauces. There are numerous variations available, so don’t be afraid to customize your sandwich to fit your taste.

If you’re visiting Cape Town, be sure to try a Gatsby at one of the recommended spots. These establishments are known for their delicious sandwiches and are popular among locals.

The Gatsby sandwich’s popularity extends beyond Cape Town and has had a significant impact on South African cuisine. It is a beloved food item among South Africans and has inspired the creation of other dishes that incorporate its key elements.

So, when you find yourself in Cape Town, make sure to indulge in a Gatsby sandwich. It’s a culinary experience that you won’t want to miss.

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