National Cuban Sandwich Day 

By  Alexis Martin

The Cuban Sandwich is one of Miami's most notable foods. Many come from all parts of the world to try an authentic Cuban sandwich. You can find these treats in most restaurants in these cities, but the best places to buy them are from the street corner cafes.

A Small History of the Cuban Sandwich

        Because Cuba is approximately 90 miles from Key West, Florida, many Cubans went there in the late 1800s to escape Spanish rule. This marked the beginning of a strong Cuban presence in Key West and the rest of Florida. The sandwiches, which at the time cost 15 cents apiece, were popular among Cuban immigrants who worked in cigar manufacturers. At the same time, Cuban Guayaberas saw a rise in popularity as well. Somewhere along the way, Italian Genoa salami was introduced to Tampa-area Cuban sandwiches. Ybor City's primary ethnic populations in the late 1800s were Cubans and Italians.

Postcard showing the steamship Cuba, that ran from Tampa to Key West, and Havana.

Postcard showing the steamship "Cuba", that ran from Tampa to Key West, and Havana.

How can I make a Cuban Sandwich?

             A submarine-style stacking of ham, roast pig, cheese, and pickle is sandwiched between sliced lengths of Cuban bread. Grilling is the difference between a fantastic and a decent Cuban Sandwich. An excellent Cuban sandwich is toasted in a sandwich press, or "la plancha," until the ham, pork, and pickles have warmed in their own steam.

A light press is one of the most common mistakes in Cuban sandwich preparation. Firm pressure on the press forces all of the flavors together while maintaining the perfect crisp crust. These sandwiches have no mayonnaise, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, or tomatoes; nevertheless, butter and mustard are optional. Cuban sandwiches are available hot (pressed) or cold (roast). 

Miami offers so many good Cuban restaurants, but these places are an absolute must-try if you ever come to visit.

Alexis Martin

I'm a first-generation Cuban immigrant. I have a passion for everything Cuba. I love to share our culture and my expertise in the world-famous Guayabera Shirt.

On December 18, 2002, I sold my first Cuban Guayabera shirt online. I fell in love with the process and the fact that this is a business, you always have to be willing to learn. Many things have changed since then, new software services, new concepts. At Mycubanstore.com, we had been able to ride different market waves. We are always humbled and grateful for this privilege of building a future in this great country.

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