A close-up view of a personal-sized Gatsby sandwich prepared with calamari and chips
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, boloney,[1] Vienna sausage, calamari, fish), sauce

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]


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, boloney 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 the meat with marinated soy.[9][10] Healthier versions can also be found, using ingredients such as beans which are said to significantly reduce cholesterol and fat levels.[11]


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. ^ a b c d e f Kavonic, Dayle (17 April 2015). "The Gatsby Sandwich". Cape Town Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Weiss, Andrea (21 June 2013). "Where to find a gatsby in Cape Town". South African Tourism. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c d Lehman, A. (2005). Fodor's South Africa. Fodor's Travel Publications. p. 1–PA58. ISBN 978-1-4000-1366-1.
  5. ^ a b "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.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  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.