Seoul is forever in a state of “trend.” When a trend starts, it’s just a matter of weeks (or days) before you you see it everywhere you look. This holds to be particularly true when it comes to food trends. It seems as though cuban sandwiches are all the rage these days, and I cant help but wonder if it’s do to the popularity of Jon Favreau’s film “Chef” here in Korea. Whatever the case, I’m always up for trying out new food spots… especially if they’re good.
Tampa can be found down a remote ally that you would only come across if you were familiar with the area. So, it was entirely by accident that the boyfriend and stumbled across the brightly colored sandwich bar. The shop itself is relatively small and can sit about 15 people or so. The interior holds somewhat of a light “beachy” theme, inspired by Tampa, Florida, the place from which the tasty cuban sandwich hails. Both the interior and exterior are painted in bright blues, yellows and greens giving it a casual relaxing feel. Floridan inspired art lines the walls, with the occasional knick-knack placed here and there.
The menu isn’t particularly extensive or fancy, but it has everything you need. There are two types of cuban sandwiches to choose from, the Classic Cuban (served on baguette) or the Cotton Cuban (served on ciabatta). Both sandwiches come stuffed with ham, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and their special mojo pork. The mojo pork is definitely the highlight of the sandwich, as it is marinated in a special sauce for 24 hours and then cooked for another 3hrs. The pork doesn’t melt in your mouth, but it’s still pretty tender and the flavor is to die for!
As part of their special winter menu, they have added a mac and cheese sandwich. The sandwich itself is pretty basic, but the macaroni is made fresh with real cheddar cheese. They also use mayonnaise in it, which seems a bit weird, but it works surprisingly well! It’s definitely a little slice of American comfort food, perfect for filling your belly on a cold winters day.
Their french fries are also a must try. All their fries are hand cut and freshly made when you order them. No frozen potatoes here! There are two types to choose from, regular potato or sweet potato. Both are great, but I prefer the sweet potato since it’s not something you can just get anywhere. It also comes with a side of whipped cream, which may sound weird, but is actually really delicious. These thick cut fries will run you about 5,000, but you can also get them made with truffle oil for 7,000. The truffle oil definitely adds a delicious savory flavor.
Finally, what initially drew me to their doors was the promise of deep-fried Oreos. As a native Texan and having been to several county fairs, I honestly didn’t have high hopes for finding deep-fried Oreos in Korea, let alone good ones. These definitely exceeded my expectations. For only 3,500, I got five delicious balls of deep-fried bliss drizzled in chocolate and garnished with powdered sugar. They definitely hit the spot.
I’ve been to Tampa a few times now, trust me it’s with a repeat visit. The atmosphere is relaxed and the food is delicious and reasonably prices. The owners, Hyun Min and Geun Min, are also super nice and speak a good amount of English. So if your a bit self-conscious about your Korean skills… no problem! So next time your looking to get your grub on, try stopping by Tampa.
서울시 마포구 동교로 38길 12 지층