When it comes to Illinois' most iconic foods, the Jibarito usually makes the list, but what the heck is it?


Illinois' Most Iconic Foods

Only In Your State recently published a list of the 10 most iconic Illinois foods, and the most usual (and delicious) suspects made the list;

  • Chicago-style hot dog
  • Chicago-style/deep dish pizza
  • Italian beef sandwich
  • Popcorn
  • Cheesecake
  • Barbecue
  • Donuts

Only In Your State's list also included three other food items that kinda surprised me, two of which I had never heard of before. Those items are;

The Horseshoe Sandwich ( which I have tried at a Wisconsin restaurant before)...

Ann Sathers Cinnamon Rolls (which I never knew existed and apparently really need to try immediately)...

And a Jibarito...

Photo by Mary West on Unsplash
Photo by Mary West on Unsplash

What the Heck is a Jibarito?

I may be far from an adventurous eater due to my super boring taste buds, but I will admit the Jibarito picture above does look deliciously intriguing. Am I the only one who has never heard of, or tried, a jibarito before?

According to Wikipedia, the jibarito is;

 a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread, aioli or garlic-flavored mayonnaise, and a filling that typically includes meat, cheeselettuce and tomato.[1][2] The original jibarito had a steak filling, and that remains the usual variety, but other ingredients, such as chicken and pork, are common.

Well, a Jibarito sure does sound tasty, but why is its existence closely related to Illinois?

Why Are Jibaritos an Iconic Illinois Food?

Wikipedia says the owner of a Chicago restaurant named Juan "Peter" Figueroa is credited with creating the jibarito sandwich (pronounced hee-bar-ee-to), back in 1996. He drew inspiration for his jibarito sandwich from a traditional Puerto Rican sandwich that uses plantains instead of bread. When Figueroa began serving it at his restaurant, (Borinquen Restaurant), other Chicago-area food joints started doing the same and it quickly became a favorite throughout the city.

Will you be in Chicago and NEED to try a Jibarito soon?  Check out this Yelp list of restaurants that serve them throughout the city.

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