27 (Tue) December 2011
Lamb & Cheese Sandwich with Spicy Sauce
at Egyptian Sandwiches
-Itaewon, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
w HSK, JHJ, JK, LSW
Egyptians may eat a lot of meats wrapped in bread but probably nothing like this.
The item was first brought to my attention by Seoul Food, where it’s described succinctly as: “Kinda sorta like Philly cheesesteak.“ He continues: “I will admit that I was quite inebriated when I dived into this bad boy, but I thought it was kinda awesome. Meat, cheese, and grilled onions. What’s there not to like?”
More specifically, the sandwich here consisted of seasoned lamb, along with the aforementioned onions and cheese, all sautéed in oil and stuffed into a hoagie roll and topped in a white yoghurt sauce and spicy chili sauce. (Chicken, beef, and vegetable versions were also available.) 4,000 won for the basic sandwich. 1,000 won with cheese. Plus spicy sauce.
In many ways – context, construction, taste and texture, as well as the dubious claim of national origin –\ I’m reminded of the so-called “Moroccan” sandwich (see 1.085 Maakouda Sandiwich). The key difference is that the latter didn’t include cheese but featured a scrambled egg and potato knish-like thing, which together gave the sandwich a rounder flavor and mouthfeel while making it much more distinct than a standard meat-and-bread combination. Both sandwiches involved similar if not identical bread, also noted by Seoul Food: “I’m pretty sure this guy uses the same type of baguette roll that the Moroccan dude uses. I gotta find out where they sell these things. They’re crispy and chewy and the perfect vehicle for greasy griddle-fried fillings.” Ultimately, Seoul Food concludes: “I gotta give the slight edge to the Moroccan dude.” I concur, though I would suggest that the edge is more than merely “slight.”
Of course, the problem with any street business – beyond hygiene and other quality control issues – is tracking it down on a consistent basis. Alas, the Moroccan truck seems to have disappeared, at least from the Itaewon scene. I haven’t seen it in ages. The Egyptian truck is/was on the street in the front of the building where Hollywood Grill is located, a couple blocks east of Hamilton Hotel. I can only hope that the tent and tables, a relatively sophisticated set-up for Itaewon street vendors, is a sign of long term quasi-permanence.
With 9 meals remaining to complete the cycle, I’m finally in the home stretch.
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