The Sandwichon – Pride of the Yucatan

Beryl Gorbman

New Info Alert – see below

A sandwichon is a huge, multi-layered sandwich that looks like a strange cake. Only that stuff all over it isn’t frosting – it’s colored mayonnaise or cream cheese, depending on the chef’s preference. This covering is dyed with a bit of tomato sauce for a pastel effect. It’s decorated with peas, bits of carrots, and other tiny veggies – that’s the healthy part.

The creation is composed most commonly of layers of strawberry jam, cream cheese, sliced yellow cheese, ham, chicharros, and pate. Sometimes, people add chicken, tuna, egg salad, lettuce, pico de gallo, and I guess – whatever you want.

When you add lumpy things like cooked chicken or tuna, you put them through the blender first to puree them nice and smooth. Add a liberal amount of “media crema” when you do this, just to maximize the calorie content.

There is bread between each layer and the construction can grow quite tall.

Any of the layers (except perhaps the jam) of the sandwichon can be liberally soaked with the ever-present “media crema.”* You can add bits of mild pepper – just throw caution to the wind and be creative.

Apparently, the sandwichon is unique to the Yucatan. The actual word means one huge m.f. sandwich. Sources on the web claim that the sandwichon exists in Spain and some South American countries, but readers from those places comment on the blogs vehemently denying that their country has such a thing. One woman was highly insulted at the thought of pureed tuna with media crema. Such a snob.

The layers are separated by slices of white bread, preferably Bimbo. But some bakeries (La Perlita) make huge white bread slabs specially for sandwichon.

You can buy chunks of commercial Sandwichon at Chedraui or most of the major supermarkets, or you can have a heck of a good time making one yourself.People have brought sandwichons to my house several times for potlucks or holidays. To my amazement, I like it.

New Info on Sandwichon

Go to a site called Moms Miami and read about the Cuban version, the  sanguiche gigante. A wealth of information. I wonder which came first. Yucatan has definately developed the sandwichon further than the Cubans in Miami (the source of Moms Miami).

The Yenta, long fascinated with these things, has a compulsion to take pictures of sandwichons in the supermarkets. Sometimes the personnel ask me to put away my camera. Perhaps they worry that I will steal the secret list of ingredients. Here are a few of my favorite sandwichon pictures.

*Media crema. Does anyone know what this actually is? It isn’t sour cream or half and half.

Walmart sandwichon

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
This entry was posted in Merida Expat Life, Restaurant Reviews and Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Sandwichon – Pride of the Yucatan

  1. Jody says:

    I thought this sounded familiar to me. I looked in my Cuban cookbooks and, sure enough, I found something very similar called (surprise, surprise) Sandwich Gigante, Cake de Bocadito, or Sandwich Camagüeyano. It was served at teas, showers, card games. and similar social occasions in the 1950′s among the upper class. It was made of multiple layers of white bread, chicken, egg, and asparagus salads or ham, swiss, cheese, salami, and strawberry jam–all frosted with cream cheese and mayonnaise. It appears to be a relative of the “ribbon sandwich” so very popular in mid-century USA. I wonder if they are all related. Interesting that its popularity continues in the Yucatán.

    • BG says:

      That’s interesting. Since Cuba doesn’t have a lot of upper class people now, I wonder whether it still exists there.

      • Estela Keim says:

        I have a vague recollection of the sandwichón in children birthday parties of the Cuban 1950s…but if my memory serves me well the concoction was mostly limited to cream cheese and strawberry jam. I´m not suggesting, however, that the more elaborate version did not exist…and at the risk of making some sandwichón admirers angry, I must confess the Yucatecan version is too much for me…I would prefer the purer, 3-ingredient one (white bread, cream cheese, strawberry marmelade).

  2. There are always upper class people; even in Cuba. Did you ever read Animal Farm? Of course you did!

    I absolutely abhor Sandwichom (the correct Yucatecan pronunciation of this ‘dish’) and just the sight of it gives me the willy-nillies; all that pastiness and the potential lack of hygiene and dubious ingredients mashed together. You forgot to mention that the pasty white bread is devoid of any crusts, as this would add too much texture to this local favorite, a definite comfort food item for many, many Yucatecans.

    • BG says:

      Why William, always so tolerant, so all-embracing. I agree. The things are set out in the bakeries with no refrigeration and are cauldrons for bacteria. They are there all day long. Plus most of the ingredients aren’t cooked and have enormous potential for problems as a result of unsanitary handling.
      The other day I went into Walmart on the Paseo and it was ninety degrees in there. I know it was ninety because that is the temperature at which I begin schvitzing. I was schvitzing. You could smell the meat and the fish and although the refrigerators were functioning, my friend who I was with wisely changed his mind about buying a pork roast.
      There was a sandwichon out. Not in a case, just on a table.
      I imagine the hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed with people coming in with food-borne illnesses. Although I have friends who criticize me for my pickiness, I will never buy products that I can plainly see may be tainted. For example, I am tied to Costco for buying eggs, because it is the only store in the entire city that refrigerates them. An enormous public health problem IMHO.

    • Jody says:

      Unlikely–based on actual food available on Cuba. (It also smacks of a bourgeois, pre-revolutionary, U.S. mimicking food style when you think about it.)

      William is correct (as usual). Class differences certainly exist in Cuba–much of that fueled by remittances from relatives in other countries. There is no way that the Cuban peso can compete with the Euro/dollar/CUC.

      When the nineties hit (near famine-like circumstances), many food traditions in Cuba ended–for good! Now, big Cuban social occasions (birthdays, weddings), for most people who can afford it, are accompanied by the (dichosa) “cajita”. The first comment or question, after every party, contains this question or phrase, “¿Cogiste cajita?” or “Cogí cajita.” The contents are pretty standard: one or two leaden croquetas, macaroni salad w/mayonesa casera, a piece of bread, and some cake with more frosting than actual cake. If a piece of pork sneaks into the box, you have really scored. No sandwichóm here, but I’m certain it would be hugely popular if available.

  3. kwallek says:

    I’m game for a Dagwood or a Club anytime but a meat cake, I’ll pass.

  4. Mario A says:

    Dear BG

    As to Donald Trump, I find also his life style and political views to be despicable

    Regarding the Sandwichon, you may be surprised to hear that one of our local expats (Laurie F-B) makes a fantastic, finger-licking-good one. If it were not because I am on a perennial diet I would have asked her to give me her recipee, or rather her magic formula.

    Your blog it truly outstanding..Keep on the good works!



  5. John says:

    I’m willing to try a slice, but please hold the strawberry jam.

  6. suk says:

    BG, it is too much to handle it & They do not refrigerated, looks good but I am not eating or buying. Walter is not eating bread so we do not buy anymore bread. Cake looks good but not for me bc I will go bathroom right away. I alway carry my Cipro 500 mg, before my journey to Merida. One time, walter ate cezer salad @ la tratto, I do not trust their salad I ate spagetti , he was a sick like a dog after 20 min, front, back all nt. Tx got I got all the med so next day we was able to go cancun. If I live there long time, I will build immune system from life styles but I am just visiting so I am prepare all the medicines for us. Our daughter spent 4 nt, I told walter do not give any uncook food, & she ate fish chevich, vomitting & diarrhea right away so told walter, give her cipro, immodium, & phenergan now. Tx god I am a nurse. Next day she was fine & I told her back to state need couple more days cipro.

    • BG says:

      A reader wisely pointed out that there are still wealthy Cubans – but they are mostly in Miami. Go back to the article and see the addition of a website generated from Miami with recipes for their version of sandwichon, or sanguiche gigante. It’s not as complex as the Yucatecan version, but definately related.
      Maybe it’s the tropical version of a magna club sandwich.

      • Jody says:

        I believe you are correct. Nitza Villapol, the Julia Child of pre-Castro Cuba (They still rerun her cooking shows from that era there, so beloved is she.), authored the two most famous Cuban cookbooks of all time: Cocina Criolla and Cocina al minuto. I just checked mine and bingo, “sandwich loaf frío” with “pasticas/pastas” of chicken, ham, and egg on layered bread, slathered al over with cream cheese, whipped with milk and garlic salt, and adorned with pimentos and hard-boiled egg slices appears in all its glory. What could be more Formica 50′s?

        At least, it sounds more appetizing than the recipe which follows it in the book: hot dogs stuffed with processed cheese and wrapped in bacon. Something tells me los Yucatecos have probably figured out an interesting take on the hot dog (highly revered food in Cuba), too.

        Ah, we are all one (in fat)!

  7. Allison says:

    Interesting. I live in Brownsville, Texas and sandwichon is big here (no pun intended). I have been wondering about where it came from–what’s the backstory on the sandwichon. Thanks for the post… sandwichon is migratory all the way to the Rio Grande Valley, apparently.

  8. Edgar Pacheco rodriguez says:

    This is my favorite food and Since I grow in yucatan I just to think that this dish was made everywhere now I live In nc and I have to make my own still is really good but doesn’t compare with the ones made in yucatan

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