What is a Bauru?

Amanda R. Bell

A Bauru, named after its founding city, is a Brazilian sandwich created in the 1930s by a local law student. It consists of a French bun, mozzarella cheese, roast beef, tomatoes, and pickles. It is considered the official sandwich of Bauru in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil; the local tourism board provides certification to local restaurants that make the sandwich according to the original recipe. While there are several variations of the sandwich in other areas, it almost always includes a French bun and cheese.

Thick slice of Gruyere cheese, which is used to make a bauru in France.
Thick slice of Gruyere cheese, which is used to make a bauru in France.

In the 1930s, a law student in Sao Paulo went to the local eatery Ponto Chic in Bauru and requested a very specific sandwich. He asked the clerk to remove the insides of a French bun, melt mozzarella cheese in a bain-marie, also known as a water bath, and place it on the bread. The student then asked for the sandwich to be topped with roast beef, tomatoes, and pickles. The sandwich was such a huge hit at the local eatery that it quickly became a staple of Brazilian cuisine.

The Italian version of bauru contains oregano.
The Italian version of bauru contains oregano.

The original recipe for the Bauru is as follows: one French bun, three slices of mozzarella cheese, three slices of tomato, three slices of roast beef, and two pickle slices. While loin or rump roast are the preferred cuts of meat for this sandwich, any type of roast beef is considered adequate. In 2007, the Municipal Tourism Agency created a program which provides a certificate for any restaurant that uses this exact recipe for its Bauru.

This Brazilian sandwich was such a huge success in Sao Paulo and the rest of Brazil that chefs from all over the world have made several variations. While some are very close to the original, the only consistency lies in the use of a French bun with the insides removed and melting the cheese in a water bath. In Italy, a Bauru consists of roast beef, ham, mozzarella, oregano, and sun dried tomatoes. In Portugal, it is made with ham, cheese, and tomatoes. In France, the Bauru is made with roast beef, Gruyere cheese, and Dijon mustard.

Ponto Chic, the original restaurant that first served the sandwich, has since slightly changed the recipe and offers a version with ham instead of roast beef. The restaurant also typically uses four different cheeses rather than just mozzarella. Despite these changes, the original Bauru sandwich is one of the most popular lunch items in Brazil and a relatively well-known part of Brazilian cuisine.

Mozzarella is the traditional cheese in a Bauru.
Mozzarella is the traditional cheese in a Bauru.

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Discussion Comments


This Brazilian sandwich does sound delicious. It's my guess that the mozzarella cheese being melted in a bain- marie or water bath and having the bread scraped out of the French bread so all that cheese melts into the inside of the bread, is what makes this sandwich unique and extra special.

It must be really delicious or it wouldn't have become so popular throughout Brazil and then spread to many other countries.

I'd sure like to taste one. Or maybe I'll try making one. I just have to find out what a water bath is.


I had no idea that some places had official sandwiches. Really though, mozzarella, tomato, and pickles are a pretty common combination- I would eat that by itself. I also wonder if it would be good with a veggie burger or tofu? I think I'll have to try this.

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