The recent surge in "chopped cheese" popularity on the SouthCoast has sparked my curiosity about other sandwiches deserving of the spotlight.

My friend Michelle Mello recently shared a tantalizing photo of a Portuguese sandwich. It looked like potato sticks, one of my favorite childhood snacks, were sprinkled inside. Mello confirmed.

If you're a fan of bifanas, then I highly recommend trying one "com tudo" or "with everything."

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For those unfamiliar, a bifana is a traditional Portuguese sandwich consisting of thinly sliced marinated pork served in a bread roll or "papo seco." It's a beloved street food in Portugal, particularly in Lisbon, Porto and the Azores. The pork is typically marinated in a blend of white wine, garlic, paprika and other spices before being cooked on a griddle or in a pan until tender. The sandwich is often garnished with mustard or hot sauce and can be topped with sautéed onions or pickles. Pair it with a glass of house red or Madeira wine, and you have yourself a satisfying meal.

Now, let's talk about the bifana sandwich deluxe. This version includes pork, coleslaw, hot sauce, olives, mayonnaise and potato sticks.

"It's essentially coleslaw without mayo, as I know coleslaw in America typically includes mayo," Mello said. "Spread the mayo on top, then layer on the potato sticks, olives, hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, and your choice of either diced onions or shredded carrots."

Courtesy Michelle Mello
Courtesy Michelle Mello

Mello said this style is more reminiscent of the Azores and the mainland has a different approach, often focusing on the pork cutlet and a special sauce.

Imagine if New Bedford's annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament offered these extra toppings? I'd spend all my tickets at the bifana stand.

With an abundance of Portuguese restaurants on the SouthCoast, someone can likely recreate this sandwich. If you know where to find one, email I and many others would be grateful.

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