Philadelphia’s Signature Sandwich: a Hoagie or a Cheesesteak?

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cheesesteak or hoagie
Images via Flickr, Creative Commons.

While cheesesteaks are an undeniable reality of Philadelphia life, hoagies may be the true kings of the local sandwich scene, writes Hawk Krall for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hoagies have been a staple of the local cuisine for nearly a century, maybe even predating the cheesesteak. They are available everywhere throughout the region and offer unmatched diversity of tastes.

The original South Philly Italian, baloney and pink ham “American” hoagies, Jewish hoagies, chicken salad hoagies with bacon, and zeps in Norristown are just some of the many varieties on offer.

This should put the hoagie firmly on the throne of the best sandwich in the region.

However Reuben Harley disagrees, crowning the cheesesteak as the quintessential Philadelphia sandwich.

He feels it is the best representative of the region because all across the nation restaurants have a “Philly Steak” on the menu.

Also, unlike with hoagies which are all different, cheesesteaks are all the same sandwich at their core, no matter what toppings you add. A cheesesteak will always have bread, ribeye, or sirloin steak, grilled onions, and cheese.

Additionally, the cheesesteak is always called a cheesesteak, whereas different regions have different names for hoagies, creating unnecessary confusion.

Read more about the hoagies vs. cheesesteaks debate in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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