Beloved street food

Cape Town’s local favorite food is Gatsby. An oversized sandwich with hot chips, meat, and a spicy sauce was invented due to necessity and found quite a several fans for sale. What is its nutritive value? How can this beloved street food be made healthy?

Cape Town’s beloved street food: Gatsby

This beloved street food of Cape Town, Gatsby is by tradition a French loaf filled with slap chips, meat, and other ingredients such as eggs or fried calamari.

Its origin is indistinct. The name probably comes up from the character of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. Jay was a person who tried his level best to keep his background a mystery.

Beloved street food
Gatsby (Source: YouTube)

Rashaad Pandy, owner of the fast-food store in Athlone called Super Fisheries since 1974 states that he is the one who invented this local favorite food item. He revealed that on one of the nights in 1976, he happened to accidentally create this dish. He narrated:

“It happened by accident,” 

“I’d hired four guys to clear a plot for me. When we finished that night, there was nothing left in my house for us to eat. So I took a round Portuguese bread, cut it open, and filled it with chips, polony and atchar. One of the guys, Froggie, he reckons: ‘This is a Gatsby smash!’”

Froggie might have seen the film and it might have influenced him heavily to say that word for the sandwich. Rashaad then experimented with it on some of his customers and it soon became a hit.

Gatsy: nutritional facts

Gatsby is loaded with saturated fats. It has 2573 calories. More than half of this comes from saturated fats. It has 158.28 grams of fats, 107.33 grams of cholesterol, 3999.34 mg of sodium, 3587.82 mg of potassium, 245.29 grams of carbs, 6.72 grams of sugar, 23.33 grams of dietary fiber, 46.97 grams of protein, along with vitamin C, iron, and calcium.

Beloved street food
Gatsby (Source: Taste Atlas)

Jessica Bacon, a registered Dietician says:

“This provides almost three quarters of daily energy (kilojoule) needs and more than half of the recommended saturated fat intake based on an average 8 400 kJ diet. It also provides almost the entire maximum daily allowance for salt, which should be limited to no more than 5 g (one teaspoon) per day,” 

Therefore, gatsby is not healthy. This is worrisome since 48% of the adult South Africans eat outside. also, 1 in 4 of them are at high risk of diseases due to the high cholesterol levels in their blood.

How to make Gatsby be healthy?

In 2013, there was a challenge on V and A Waterfront in Cape Town to give gatsby a healthy makeover. Dietitian Heleen Meyer, in partnership with Pharma Dynamics and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), offered this challenge. They also made a healthy heart-friendly gatsby for people to taste. Heleen said:

“Most fast food meals can be turned into a simple, lean and healthier version by making some modifications. In this instance I’ve replaced traditionally deep-fried chips with oven-baked chips, polony with baked beans and lean red meat, and I’ve added fresh ginger, lemon juice and masala for extra flavour.

These modifications translate into a delicious, nutritious Gatsby that is lower in total fat, unhealthy saturated fat and salt, and higher in fibre, making it a better choice for the heart,” 

Beloved street food
Gatsby (Source: Wikipedia)

Read more: How to make Creamy, and Tangy Esquites (Mexican Street Corn Salad)?

This version had almost 1/3rd of the calories and just 18.5 grams of fats. The fiber was five times more and sodium was markedly reduced. Moreover, it was very much affordable.