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What: When we talk about sandwiches in the Bay Area, inevitably the conversation turns to Dutch Crunch bread. Why? This sweet, chewy sandwich roll with the crunchy, mottled top is largely unavailable elsewhere in the States. Also known as “tiger bread,” or tijgerbrood in the Netherlands, for its patterned and textured appearance, Dutch Crunch gets its signature cracked top thanks to a slurry of rice flour, sesame oil, yeast, and sugar. Depending upon whom you ask, the bread has been available in the San Francisco area since 1909 or perhaps decades later, and no one is really sure how it got here from Holland, where it ostensibly hails from. In any case, today you’ll find it in the city’s best delis, where the pliant roll is the perfect complement to salty sandwich innards.
Good to know: Some sandwich shops have “sliced” Dutch Crunch bread available. Skip it—you’ll miss out on the majority of the addictively crunchy top.
Where: Do your Dutch Crunch justice by heading to the Arguello Super Market (782 Arguello Blvd., at McCallister St., map), a low-key neighborhood shop with great sandwiches and always-fresh Dutch Crunch.
Order: Pictured is the roasted turkey sandwich ($6.99)—one of our favorites here (note the turkey rotisserie spits behind the counter), but the innards are, of course, a personal choice. The salty, flavorful turkey meat (layers of white and dark) does, however, perfectly contrast the flavor and texture of the Dutch Crunch bread. Add avocado and cheese ($.75 each) for a killer combination.
Alternatively: Ike’s Place (3489 16th St., at Sanchez St., map) slings some of the most famous, and most beloved, sandwiches in the city; Dutch Crunch bread is a menu fixture, and the go-to for sandwich orders. Ike’s bombastic creations can include mozzarella sticks and jalapeño poppers (in sandwiches, yes), and are often named for San Francisco sports heroes. Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop (3380 20th St., at Van Ness Ave., map) serves great, classic sandwiches as well—try the Ray Ray, which features salami and cheddar cheese on Dutch Crunch.
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