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When Jon Favreau’s delightful foodie/road-trip film Chef came out, it got everyone curious about Cuban sandwiches. The marvelous photography of the food preps, edited to the beat of catchy Latin music, more than helped whet the appetite for what is really a simple Cuban sandwich. It seemed to me just your basic ham and cheese sandwich prepared much more meticulously than the ordinary ham and cheese sandwich we are used to. The Cuban sandwich (also called “sandwich mixto”) was developed as early as the 19th century and was hearty enough to satisfy the appetites of Cuban workers in Miami. Traditionally and essentially, it consists of ham, lean roast pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and lots of butter and yellow mustard, served between the cheeks of Cuban bread. Then the whole thing is compressed and toasted to a delicious crisp on a plancha.

And people rave about it! Hmm. curious. So when a Cuban sandwich shop opened on Gallardo Street, just off to the side from Dela Rosa Street in Legaspi Village in Makati, it was my chance to see what the foodie-fuss was all about.

Pepi Cubano. It is owned by Susan Dalmacion who would sell her Cuban sandwiches at the Saturday Salcedo Market even way back in 2006. Yes, even way before the movie made Cuban sandwiches a thing to jones for here in Manila. She opened this small, no-frills shop where the sandwiches are made fresh and hot. And the signature Pepi Cubano sandwich did not disappoint. I especially liked the bread. I am no expert and I am not sure if this is real Cuban bread, which is customarily made with lard or shortening, but I particularly like how finely crisp it’s toasted. You bite, you hear a delicate crunch, and your teeth sink into the moist and delicious sandwich fillings inside. Wonderful!

There are other sandwiches and offerings on the menu which I intend to try very soon. I am curious to try the Tito Choripan or the Pan de Lechon. My friend loves their Pan de Guyaba — a guava jelly and cheese sandwich, which I used to love when I was a kid. Pepi Cubano can be found on the ground floor of Tropical Palms Condominium on Gallardo St. in Legaspi Village, Makati. Or You may call 880-0389 or 0907-535-7574 for pick-up or delivery.