You seriously have not lived if you've never tried a chopped cheese sandwich. These delicious beef sandwiches with melted cheese hailing from New York City bodegas are truly an experience everyone should have — and no, it's not the same thing as a Philly cheesesteak or a cheeseburger.
What is a Chopped Cheese?
A chopped cheese sandwich, sometimes called a chop cheese, is a sandwich found in NYC bodegas like Blue Sky Deli and enjoyed by New Yorkers in places like the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn, and Queens.
These sandwiches have ground beef, onions, and melted cheese, and can be served with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments like ketchup on a hero roll/hoagie roll.
"Ground beef is grilled on a flat-top cast iron skillet with peppers, onions, and seasoning, chopped with a metal spatula, covered with cheese slices, and dressed with standard-issue condiments," First We Feast notes, adding that mayo and hot sauce are also acceptable. Leaving the burger patty intact isn't something commonly done, though sandwich makers can add jalapeños for a little kick.
It's unclear where the sandwich came from, although Wikipedia reports that it may be "influenced by an Arabic specialty, dagha yamneeya." Hajji's Deli in New York was also the location of Harlem rapper Cam'ron's music video "Child of the Ghetto," and it's known for the sandwiches.
What Kind of Cheese Is On It?
The traditional sandwich seems to usually have American cheese on it. But some recipes also feature cheddar cheese, and you can really use whatever cheese recipe you want if you're making one at home. Wanna throw some mozzarella or ricotta on there? Who's stopping you?
If you ever find yourself in East Harlem at a deli that has a griddle, the chopped cheese is the sandwich to get. It hasn't got much of a prep time at all, making it a perfect choice in the busy Big Apple.
You can get any food in New York City — tacos, cheesecake, bagels, pizza, you name it. But you'll remember the chopped cheese if you get it, we guarantee it.
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