I had NO idea that in the sandwich shops there was a specific language for ordering. I speak English and know some other languages, but this one was new and extremely foreign. The person in front of me approached the counter and simply said, “Wit.” Another said, “Widout.” I stood there thinking, “But what does it all mean?!”
The city of Philadelphia has a handy website explaining this and all other curiosities of the city. “Wit,” or with, is what you say if you want cheese and onions in the cheesesteak. As its name shows, the “norm” is some form of beef with cheese. If you say “widout,” you are basically saying without onions.
It took me a second to finally catch on. I went straight to the city’s number one destination (or so they say): John’s Roast Pork. However, as I interviewed many different people in the city, everyone had their favorite spot.
There are countless “steak shops,” restaurants, and even pizzerias (you heard right!) that sell this signature Philadelphian staple. The sandwich itself is made with a specific cut of meat (rib eye) and cheese. Depending on where you go or what you like, the cheese could be “Cheez Whiz,” a processed cheese product, or provolone or American cheese. The sandwiches are popular and are great because you can hold them in your hand and eat them “on the go.” Each location also boasts their own special detail; it could be the kind of sauce they use, or the bread they select, or even the meat seasonings. The sheer number of places where you can buy this famous food item is endless and mind-blowing.
What’s even more interesting is that they were “invented” in 1930. That’s almost 85 years of the infamous cheesesteak! Don’t miss out on one of these while making your way around the city!
I stood there thinking: Me quedé allí pensando
It took me a second: Tardé un segundo
to catch on: darse cuenta
staple: alimento básico
on the go: sobre la marcha
to boast: jactarse
sheer number: número puro
to miss out: perderse