So damn juicy tasty, and cheap!
Are you hungry? And I am not talking about a “I might like something” hungry. I am talking about a “I missed breakfast, crazy busy day, and its now 3pm and I am starving” kinda hunger.
If you’re stomach is in knots with emptiness, feeding upon itself to give you strength, then it might just be time for you to experience a Macedonian sandwich. And this ain’t no White Castle. This is serious man-wich!
First off, don’t dare think you’ll find a real Macedonian sandwich at some sit-down restaurant, or, heaven forbid, a fast food chain. No, you’ll only find this gastronomical delight in little hide-aways.
I found my favorite in the Trgovski Center shopping mall parking lot. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and even less so in daylight. In fact, you might even drive right past it if you grab a taxi in front of Holiday Inn Skopje.
And if you did, it would be a shame. When you first walk up, you’ll be greeted through the Plexiglas window by a surprisingly happy master barbeque chief. Master of his charcoal-powered grill, he will ask you which meat you might want.
An ask with love, warmth, and pride in his lavish preparations of all assortments of sandwich stalwarts. You have everything from plain hamburger patties, to those with cheese on top, to chicken with cheese and ham inside, to sausages, links, and even steak.
Each meat is already cooked, and with a flourish, the cook drops your selection on the grill. Next to it he adds a serious bread loaf. Large enough to make the S.S. Big Buns of “Where’s the Beef” Wendy’s fame proud, it is the only bland ingredient allowed.
Once the meat selection is warmed and your bread toasted, both are married in a recycled paper wrapper. Added to them is your choice of sauces and vegetables. I am no fan of the Macedonian standard mayonnaise, but I did enjoy the garlic and hummus-based sauces.
Then I had marinated red bell peppers and diced red cabbage added to my meat and bread. The bell peppers are a Macedonian claim to fame, but I always ask for more as the usual two slices do not quench my veggie need.
So now it looks like a American sandwich on steroids, a manly hunk of meat, chicken stuffed with ham and cheese this time, with cabbage and peppers oozing out as bite into the tasty but messy creation.
Bt this is not a complete Macedonian sandwich, even though I am gastronomically happy with my $2 meal. The usual is to add French fries (“chips” here) to the sandwich, and I mean in the sandwich, between the meat and the bread.
Luckily, I don’t have that straight-to-my-heart-and-kill-me grease added to this order. I even toss one half of the bun, just to focus on the good stuff, the sandwich filling. Oh, and I’ll focus on consuming the sandwich filling on the boardwalk right next to the sandwich kiosk.
With the River Vardar as a backdrop, and the plentiful benches a perfect picnic perch, I am in Skopje sandwich heaven. Time to masticate!