19 January, 2022, 04:03

5 Killer Cuban Sandwiches That’ll Have You Wanting More

The much-loved ham and cheese sandwich has made it in Tucson, with a twist.

The ham and cheese sandwich has seen various interpretations from cultures around the world: the croque monsieur from France, the Francesinha from Portugal, Puerto Rico’s tripleta, and the Cubano from Florida.

While the Cubano’s parent sandwich came from Cuba, the Cubano (Cuban sandwich) as it is known today was created in the late 1800s in Tampa’s Ybor City as a result of the booming cigar industry. This created a demand for a convenient lunch for the many Cuban workers.

The traditional Cubano consists of buttered or oiled Cuban bread, yellow mustard, shredded roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles.

Genoa salami was added by Ybor City’s Italian immigrants, some of which were bricklayers that pressed the sandwich between hot bricks. Don’t expect salami from a Cubano in Miami, however. Proud Miami citizens consider it blasphemous.

Thankfully, the Cubano has made its way across the country to Tucson in various eateries.

Cup Cafe

311 E. Congress St.
Cubano sandwich at Cup Cafe (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cubano sandwich at Cup Cafe (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Cup Cafe’s Cubano features the more traditional pressed bakery roll, braised pork, smoked ham, and dill pickles, but deviates with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, dijon mustard, and chipotle mayo. Jalapeño, cilantro, and fresh lime juice help cut through the fatty ingredients, but ask for a side of mustard for a flavor profile closer to a traditional Cubano.

For more information, visit hotelcongress.com.

DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck

Mobile food truck
El Fidel Cuban sandwich at DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck (Credit: DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck on Facebook)

El Fidel Cuban sandwich at DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck (Credit: DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck on Facebook)

DC Jumbie has El Fidel, which features pork slowly roasted in mojo criollo (Cuban sour orange and garlic sauce), ham, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, mayo, and mustard on a grill-pressed sub roll.

Check out their current location and keep up with DC Jumbie Latin Caribbean Food Truck on Facebook.

Fini’s Landing

5689 N. Swan Rd.
El Cubano Torta from Fini's Landing (Credit: Fini's Landing)

El Cubano Torta from Fini’s Landing (Credit: Fini’s Landing)

El Cubano Torta at Fini’s Landing has Tucson flair. Barrio Brewing Co. makes Beached Ale exclusively for Fini’s, which is used in their aioli and to braise carnitas. Sandwich those two with a torta bun along with Swiss cheese, pickles, pecan-smoked bacon, and cabbage for a satisfying Mexican-Cuban fusion.

For more information, visit finislanding.com.

Firetruck Brewing Company

4746 E. Grant Rd. • 9155 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #177 9630 • N. Oracle Rd. #110
Firetruck Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of Firetruck Brewing Company

Pair a pint of Dew Point Dunkel with The Cubano at Firetruck Brewing. The medium-bodied beer complements the slow-roasted shredded pork, ham, and provolone, while the bubbles help contrast the richness with the pickles and stone-ground mustard.

For more information, visit firetruckbrewing.com.

Gigi’s Mexican Peruvian Fusion

Mobile food truck — check Gigi’s Fusion Food Truck on Facebook for their current location.
El Cubano Torta at Gigi's Mexican Peruvian Fusion (Credit: Gigi's Mexican Peruvian Fusion on Facebook)

El Cubano Torta at Gigi’s Mexican Peruvian Fusion (Credit: Gigi’s Mexican Peruvian Fusion on Facebook)

El Cubano at Gigi’s doesn’t discriminate against bacon. Roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, bacon, and beer mustard are sandwiched between garlic Cuban bread and grill-pressed with a side of sweet potato fries. A side of mojo sauce makes for extra-garlicky dipping.

For more information, visit gigisfusion.com.

To make your own Cuban sandwich, check out this recipe from Tyler Florence at Food Network.

Where’s your favorite Cuban sandwich from? Let us know in the comments.

[This article was originally written on August 23, 2016, and most recently updated on August, 23 2021]

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

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