St. Paul sandwich

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St. Paul sandwich
STP Sandwich 004.jpg
A St. Paul sandwich
Type Sandwich
Place of origin United States
Main ingredients White bread, egg foo young patty, pickle slices, white onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes
Cookbook: St. Paul sandwich  Media: St. Paul sandwich

The St. Paul sandwich can be found in many Chinese American restaurants in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as other cities in Missouri, including Columbia, Jefferson City, and Springfield. The sandwich consists of an egg foo young patty (made with mung bean sprouts and minced white onions) served with dill pickle slices, white onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato between two slices of white bread.[1][2] The St. Paul sandwich also comes in different combinations and specials, such as chicken, pork, shrimp, beef, and other varieties.[3]


One source has the origin of the St. Paul sandwich dating as far back as the early 1940s, when Chinese restaurants, desperate to attract the American public to try their cuisine, invented the sandwich to appeal to their palates.[4] According to local legend, the St. Paul sandwich was invented by Steven Yuen at Park Chop Suey in Lafayette Square, a neighborhood near downtown St. Louis; Yuen named the sandwich after his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Food writers James Beard and Evan Jones believed that the Denver or Western sandwich was created by "the many Chinese chefs who cooked for logging camps and railroad gangs in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries" and was probably derived from egg foo young.[5][6] They believed that the early Denver sandwiches were actually St. Paul sandwiches.[7]


According to one source, the phrase "St. Paul sandwich" has meant multiple things over the past 60 years. Originally, the St. Paul sandwich contained four pieces of white bread with chicken and egg stuffed inside; later, it was just egg and hamburger on a bun.

Another local legend has it that during the early 20th century when the railroads were being established and St. Louis was a crossroads of workers, many were Chinese immigrants. The sandwich developed as a staple of the workers' lunches and was referred to as the "St. Louis sandwich." However, being hard to pronounce by the Chinese immigrants, they started calling it a St. Paul to make it easier to say.[citation needed] It has been served in St. Louis ever since.

The name is likely motivated because St. Louis has a history of being a large Catholic town and calling it St. Paul attracted Catholics especially during lent.


It is usually only available in Chinese restaurants in the St. Louis metropolitan area as well as at least one Chinese American restaurant in Columbia, Missouri, Chinese Wok Express on Broadway, at Happy Garden in Jefferson City, Missouri and at Yen's Chinese Food restaurant in Springfield, Missouri, the owners of which are originally from St. Louis. It is also available in Chinese-American restaurants in California and Oregon with regional names such as "Egg Foo Young on Bun" at Lung Fung in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, OR. This sandwich was featured in the PBS documentary Sandwiches That You Will Like in 2003.

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