What’S The Name For One Of Uruguay’S Favorite Sandwiches

Meet the Chivito: Uruguay’s Beloved Sandwich That’s a Feast for the Senses

In the heart of Uruguay, where culinary delights abound, there’s a sandwich that reigns supreme as a national icon. It’s a masterpiece of flavors, textures, and culinary innovation that has captivated taste buds for generations. So, what’s this gastronomic gem called? None other than the legendary chivito!

For the uninitiated, the chivito is more than just a sandwich; it’s a testament to Uruguayan culinary prowess. It typically features a juicy grilled steak, topped with a generous spread of melted cheese, fresh tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and thinly sliced ham. But that’s not all! This sandwich extravaganza also includes crisp bacon, fried eggs, and a drizzle of mayonnaise.

The origins of the chivito are shrouded in culinary lore, but its popularity has soared over the years. It has become an essential part of Uruguayan cuisine, enjoyed in restaurants, cafes, and family gatherings alike. So, if you’re ever in Montevideo or any other part of Uruguay, be sure to savor the flavors of the chivito. It’s a culinary experience that will leave you wanting more!

What'S The Name For One Of Uruguay'S Favorite Sandwiches

The Chivito: Uruguay’s Beloved Sandwich


Uruguay, a vibrant and flavorful nation, boasts a rich culinary tradition that encompasses an array of delectable dishes. Among these, the chivito stands out as a beloved culinary icon, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Historical Origins

Historical Origins of the Chivito

The origins of the chivito remain shrouded in mystery, with several competing theories. One popular legend attributes its creation to Antonio Carbonaro, an immigrant from Naples. In 1944, while working at a restaurant in the Uruguayan coastal city of Punta del Este, Carbonaro is said to have assembled a sandwich for a demanding customer using whatever ingredients were available. The result was an instant hit, and the chivito was born.

Ingredients and Variations

Ingredients and Variations of the Chivito

The chivito is a hearty and versatile sandwich that can be customized to suit individual tastes. At its core, it typically consists of the following ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced beef (churrasco): The beef is usually grilled or roasted and seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • Ham: Sliced or shredded ham adds an extra layer of savoriness.
  • Bacon: Crispy bacon provides a crunchy texture and smoky flavor.
  • Cheese: Uruguayan cheese, such as mozzarella or provolone, melts beautifully and adds a creamy richness.
  • Tomato and lettuce: These fresh vegetables provide a contrast in texture and freshness.
  • Mayonnaise: A generous spread of mayonnaise adds a velvety smoothness.

Variations on the classic chivito abound, with some popular additions including:

  • Egg: A fried or scrambled egg can add protein and richness.
  • Bell peppers: Sautéed bell peppers add a splash of color and extra vegetables.
  • Mushrooms: Grilled or sautéed mushrooms provide an earthy umami flavor.
  • Chimichurri: The ubiquitous Uruguayan condiment can add a tangy and herbaceous note.

Cultural Significance

Cultural Significance of the Chivito

The chivito is more than just a sandwich; it is a culinary representation of Uruguayan identity. It is served in casual restaurants, bars, and even at home, bringing people together to share a meal and connect with their heritage. Its versatility and affordability make it accessible to all, solidifying its status as a beloved national dish.

Preparation and Enjoyment

Preparation and Enjoyment of the Chivito

Preparing a chivito is a relatively straightforward process. Simply grill or roast the beef to your desired doneness, then assemble the sandwich on a crusty bread roll. Layer the ingredients in the order listed above, adding your preferred toppings. For the authentic Uruguayan experience, enjoy your chivito with a tall glass of Uruguayan Tannat wine.

Regional Variations

Regional Variations of the Chivito

Like many dishes, the chivito has undergone regional variations as it has spread throughout Uruguay. In the northern city of Salto, for example, it is common to add a layer of sweet potato to the sandwich. In the southern coastal town of La Paloma, the chivito is often served with grilled fish instead of beef. These variations showcase the creativity and culinary diversity of the Uruguayan people.

Accompanying Sides

Accompanying Sides for the Chivito

The chivito is a satisfying meal on its own, but it can be complemented by a variety of sides. Some popular pairings include:

  • French fries: Crispy French fries provide a classic and satisfying side.
  • Onion rings: Golden-brown onion rings add a crispy and flavorful touch.
  • Salad: A fresh side salad can balance out the richness of the chivito.
  • Chimichurri potatoes: These potatoes are tossed in a flavorful chimichurri sauce.

Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value of the Chivito

Like most sandwiches, the chivito is a calorie-dense meal. However, it also provides a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The inclusion of fresh vegetables and cheese adds some nutritional value, but it is important to consume it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Healthier Alternatives

Healthier Alternatives for the Chivito

For those looking for a healthier version of the chivito, there are several ways to reduce its calorie content:

  • Choose leaner cuts of beef: Opt for leaner cuts, such as flank steak or top round, to reduce the amount of saturated fat.
  • Use whole-wheat bread: Whole-wheat bread provides more fiber and nutrients than white bread.
  • Limit the amount of cheese and mayonnaise: These ingredients are high in calories and fat, so use them sparingly.
  • Add more vegetables: Load your chivito with a variety of fresh vegetables, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
  • Make your own chimichurri: Homemade chimichurri is typically lower in calories and fat than store-bought varieties.


The chivito is a beloved Uruguayan sandwich that has become an icon of the country’s culinary heritage. Its versatility, affordability, and cultural significance make it a must-try for anyone visiting Uruguay or interested in exploring the flavors of South America. Whether enjoyed as a casual meal or as part of a special occasion, the chivito is a testament to the vibrant and creative spirit of Uruguayan cuisine.


1. What is the traditional bread used for a chivito?

The traditional bread used for a chivito is a crusty bread roll called a cachila or marraqueta.

2. Can I find chivitos outside of Uruguay?

Yes, it is possible to find chivitos at Uruguayan restaurants and some international restaurants that specialize in South American cuisine.

3. Is the chivito a vegetarian sandwich?

No, the classic chivito is not a vegetarian sandwich as it contains beef. However, vegetarian and vegan variations can be made with plant-based substitutes for the beef.

4. What is the difference between a chivito and a completo?

A completo is a Chilean sandwich similar to the chivito, but it typically contains fewer ingredients and does not include the thin, grilled beef.

5. How big is a typical chivito?

The size of a chivito can vary, but it is typically quite large and can be shared between two people.



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