Is the Gatsby the unhealthiest food EVER?

A Gatsby is a humongous edible deathtrap that I encountered in Cape Town. If you wanted a heart attack, then surely eating a Gatsby a day must do it!


In my recent blog on some of the most famous sandwiches in the world, I didn’t include the icon of Cape Town – The Gatsby. That’s because it is just so beyond comprehension that it can hardly be taken seriously as a sandwich anyway! You can usually purchase a half or a whole Gatsby, although the whole ones are not intended to be eaten alone – it requires teamwork to tackle this monstrosity!

I have been thinking of which foods out there are actually more unhealthy for you than a Gatsby, and I have yet to come up with anything. I am sure when I visit New York, I will find something! Perhaps some of the street food dumplings that you find in South East Asia where they coat in syrupy sugar before serving to you is worse for your teeth than a Gatsby, but worse for your heart? Doubt there’s anything in Asia.

Fast food restaurants also sell Gatsbys
Fast food restaurants also sell Gatsbys

I really wanted to try a Gatsby myself – albeit against my better judgement – and I found a good little place in the heart of the CBD called Mariam’s Kitchen. This is where I had my first ever Gatsby (I did have another one before I flew to Madagascar, though!) and it cost me R42.95.

Filled with chips and a meat of your choice (I had chicken, though it was somewhat overcooked), this foot-long baguette-style bread reminds of me of the Banh Mi from Vietnam, although the Vietnamese are thankfully much more healthy than their South African counterparts, as they prefer to fill their breads with salads and pickles and occasionally some hearty pork belly – no chips included! And that’s the problem: in South Africa, if you don’t include the chips it’s simply not a real Gatsby!


I am not ashamed to say that I did not finish eating my chicken and chips Gatsby. In fact, I never had any intention of completing it anyway. However, the chance to eat like a local when I am travelling is too good a temptation to turn down for an aspiring ‘foodie’ like me, so the Gatsby (and the bunny chow) were obvious experiments! I think next time, though, I need to order some healthier South African street food…perhaps some masala pineapples?

And how did I burn off these Gatsby calories the following morning? I adventured up the amazing Table Mountain of course – and ran away from some demented baboons!


6 thoughts on “Is the Gatsby the unhealthiest food EVER?

  1. Reblogged this on The EndPoint Business Blog and commented:
    This is the first time I’m learning about a Gatsby. It’s basically like a vietnamese baguette or hoagie but with chips in it. Blogger backpackerlee always introduces us to some exotic cuisine around the world and I am not curious to try it if I even get myself to South Africa.


  2. The answer to your question Lee is an empahatic, probably YES. My offices are opposite Miriam’s kitchen and occasionally we would buy something there. In my 15years living in Cape Town I would never have classed a Gatsby as local food. The only people I encountered who would eat anything like that were already brain dead!!!


    1. Cool your offices just opposite the kitchen?! Interesting that you don’t think it’s a local food though. I had never seen it anywhere before, apart from Cape Town. From research, it seems like a traditional ZA street food! Oh well, I agree with you about it not being very healthy though….I think it’s best to share it, to save on the calories and on the money! 😉


  3. LOL – I had to laugh at this article. I am South African – yes it is 100% local and not found anywhere else in the world (I don’t think) – more commonly found in Cape Town, so not sure why Jamoroki never classed it as local food.

    I, myself, have never been a fan of it. And while it is meant to be shared, just the sheer size of it, puts me off. Plus I prefer a plain chip roll without polony, chicken or any other meat on it!

    Unhealthiest food on the planet – Lol – I think the Heart Attack Grill burger in the US probably tops the Gatsby.


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