One of the many great things about growing up in Union City was the food. We lived in an Italian neighborhood that turned both Puerto Rican and Cuban and we ate like royalty.

One of my favorite foods from back in the day and remains today is the Cuban sandwich. The Cuban sandwich originated in Tampa, Florida, catering to Cuban immigrants working in the cigar industry.

I found a great one at Latin Bites in Manalapan, where they also make great empanadas.

Latin Bites has been in business since 2018 and serves Puerto Rican and Cuban fusion cuisine and they do it with not only a great restaurant, but food trucks as well.

Image via Steve Trevelise
Image via Steve Trevelise

I spoke with the owner Rodolfo Villanueva aka "Roy":

What makes a great Cuban sandwich?

"Having all the necessary ingredients a well-buttered toasted authentic Cuban bread, layered with ham pickles mustard Swiss cheese, and roasted pork."

What sets yours apart from the others?

"It’s the only one you’ll find in NJ that is 14” long 1.5 lbs."

Image via Steve Trevelise
Image via Steve Trevelise

Is there any history or tradition to your Cuban Sandwich? Where did you learn to make them?

"Having been brought up and raised in the heart of Miami, there isn’t a cafe or bakery that doesn’t serve a Cuban sandwich. And that’s where I learned by comparing who tasted better and coming up with it’s better choosing the right ingredients and using my family’s traditional way of roasting the pork made the magic."

Where can we get them?

"At Latin Bites Restaurant in Manalapan or any of our roaming food trucks."

Image via Steve Trevlise
Image via Steve Trevelise

Anything he’d like to add sandwich related that I haven’t thought of?

"Our pork is marinated In our homemade mojo for 12 hours and then slow roasted for another 11 hours making it the most tender and juiciest pork."

Now if that doesn't leave your mouth watering.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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