“What?! You’ve lived in Cape Town for eight years and never had a Gatsby?” My Cape Town born-and-bred companion was horrified that I had overlooked this staple of fast-food restaurants and food stalls. That would be like living in New York and never eating a hotdog, or spending eight years in Brussels and never having a waffle. To truly understand the culinary appetites of South Africans, you must give this sandwich a try.
The Gatsby is a colossal submarine-style sandwich that’s designed to be shared: a full Gatsby can easily feed a family of four — or two friends suffering with hangovers. Toppings can include anything like plain old polony to calamari, eggs, masala steak, boerewors (a lightly spiced beef sausage), or hot French fries It’ll be fried to perfection and often smothered with salt and vinegar.
Since its invention nearly 50 years ago, the Gatsby has come to represent the best of South African street food, bringing loved ones together over a messy, delicious meal.