Gatsby (sandwich)

A Gatsby is a South African submarine sandwich consisting of a bread roll filled with chips (French fries) and a choice of fillings and sauces.[2] It originated in Cape Town[1] and is popular throughout the Western Cape province.[3] The sandwich is typically large and shared by several people.[1][2]

A close-up view of a personal-sized Gatsby sandwich prepared with calamari and chips
Place of originSouth Africa
Region or stateCape Town
Main ingredientsBread rolls, French fries, meat or seafood (masala steak, chicken, polony,[1] Vienna sausage, calamari, fish), sauce


There is no standard recipe for a Gatsby, but it is usually offered in a long (one foot or more) French-style bread roll cut lengthwise.[2][4][5] Other breads used may include hot dog buns or roti flat breads,[6] although a filled roti is usually referred to as a salomie.[7] The sandwich is made large to be shared, usually four ways. The filling of a Gatsby comprises chips with any number of other ingredients such as meats, fish and eggs. Meat fillings may include chargrilled steak,[4] masala steak,[2] chicken, polony sausage, Vienna sausage and Russian sausage. Fried or pickled fish,[4] calamari,[1] curry[3][4] and eggs are also frequently offered.[1][8] The fillings are commonly dressed with achar pickles or peri peri sauce.[3][5]

Although the Gatsby is typically made with meat fillings, vegan versions can be found that are usually made by substituting marinated soy steak for the meat.[9][10] Healthier versions can also be found, using ingredients such as beans which are said to significantly reduce cholesterol and fat levels.[11]


A mural in Athlone celebrating the area as "Home of the Gatsby".

The Gatsby sandwich originated in 1976 in Athlone, in the Cape Flats area of Cape Town.[1] Food shop owner Rashaad Pandy wanted to serve a quick but filling meal to workers helping him renovate his store. He filled a large round loaf with "slap chips" (South-African-style chips with vinegar), polony sausage and achaar and cut this into wedges. "Froggy", one of the workers, declared the sandwich a "Gatsby smash",[12] alluding to the movie The Great Gatsby which had been screened at an Athlone cinema. The name stuck and Pandy subsequently offered the sandwich in his shop.[13][14] The sandwich grew in popularity and was adjusted to use a long French-style roll. The gatsby sandwich is a popular hangover cure for Capetonians.[15][16]

See also


  1. Kavonic, Dayle (17 April 2015). "The Gatsby Sandwich". Cape Town Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  2. Weiss, Andrea (21 June 2013). "Where to find a gatsby in Cape Town". South African Tourism. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. Albala, Ken, ed. (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia: Volume 1 Africa and Middle East. Greenwood. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-313-37627-6.
  4. Lehman, A. (2005). Fodor's South Africa. Fodor's Travel Publications. p. 1–PA58. ISBN 978-1-4000-1366-1.
  5. "The Great Gatsby". Saveur. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  6. "Rolled or on a roll? Cape Town's famous gatsby gets a new look". 15 May 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  7. "Salomie - Cape Town's favourite roti wrap". 6 March 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  8. van der Merwe, Marelise (9 October 2013). "In search of Cape Town's own Great Gatsby". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  9. "Vegan Grilled Soy Steaks with 3 Marinades". Cheap And Cheerful Cooking. 30 June 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  10. "Vegan Gatsby Sandwich". Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  11. Dynamics, Press Release, Issued by Lange 360 on behalf of Pharma. "'Gatsby' gets healthy makeover in Waterfront". Health24. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  12. Richardson, Heather (1 December 2020). "Cape Town's most famous fast food". BBC Travel. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  13. "The Story Behind One of Cape Town's Favourite Foods: The Gatsby". Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  14. "5 great gatsbys in Cape Town". Eat Out. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  15. "Cape Town's Best Hangover Cures". Food & Wine. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  16. "Best Hangover Food Cures from Cape Town Restaurants | Babalas Remedies, Top Foods for Hangovers, Hungover Meals & Eating Out South Africa". Retrieved 28 August 2021.
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