Going to a local restaurant or café to eat is always a great learning experience. Just the other day, I went to a traditional cafetería and wanted to order a sandwich. On the menu, along with a list of typical sandwich choices like jamón cocido y queso, jamón crudo y queso etc., there was this small line ‘blanco, negro, integral, árabe, francés, pebete‘. I could guess that they were probably choices of bread but didn’t really know what they were other than the obvious blanco. So I decided to ask the waiter who was so helpful and gave me a quick show-and-tell:
Pan Blanco is easy, which is the typical white bread.
Pan Negro, which sometimes use interchangeably with pan integral, but specifically speaking, they are usually made of salvado, which is bran.
Pan Integral is the whole wheat bread.
Pan árabe is pita bread. This is a great option if you don’t want too many ‘bun’ for your sandwich.
Pan francés is the french bread. It’s like the baguette but is thicker and much shorter. It is usually used for choripan (Argentine sausage sandwich) or with milanesa (fried thin beef).
Pebete looks like a hot dog bun to me but fatter. See picture to the left to get a better idea.
There’s one item which you may come across a lot which is the sandwich de miga and they are usually listed separately in its own section. This kind of sandwiches use white bread but without crust. Some places do offer pan de miga negro which is the brown version.
All of the above sandwich options, you can order them tostado (toasted) or not.
Now that I’ve gotten the sandwich vocabulary down, I am ready to order exactly what I am craving for!