Posted by: Jeffsayyes | November 22, 2009

What is a Cemita?

Let’s talk Mexican sandwiches. Okay, the most popular ones on Roosevelt Ave are the Torta and the Cemita. First thing’s first, Forget the Torta! It’s a poor man’s Cemita. Unless you are heavily lactose intolerant (or live in fear), the torta should lay by the wayside and those seedless buns should remain stale indefinitely.

This is a cemita:

Milanesa de res from Tacqueria Coatzingo

This is a cemita:

Cemita al Pastor from El Poblano

This is a cemita:

Milanesa de Res Cemita from Mi Bella Puebla II

Cemita al Pastor from El Sol de Azteca

What is in a Cemita?
Sesame seed bun
Bean spread
Chipotle pepper
Main meat
Papalo herb (sometimes cilantro)
Oaxaca cheese
… give or take a 2nd layer of meat, another cheese, onions and a tomato

Never a torta. Always cemita.

How to make a cemita from Homesick Texan


  1. i dunno, i’m loyal to the torta, but i guess it all depends on the bread itself. and i think the ingredients are pretty much identical in tortas and cemitas (besides the bread), though i guess tortas don’t have the chipotle?

  2. I’ve had a few killer cemitas in sunset park. Xochimilco on 5th ave is my favorite though by far.

  3. […] Links: Coatzingo is a municipality in Puebla, Mexico Frequently Mentioned on Chowhound Experiences at Coatzingo More Chowhound chitchat about Coatzingo 50 people have reviewed it on yelp, and not one has reviewed it’s 82nd St location?? A Jackson Heights trip from Beyond Burritos (cool site!) What is a Cemita? […]

  4. […] Links: What is a Cemita? […]

  5. I strongly disagree, I actually prefer the taste of a torta over the cemita. I have tried several of both, a torta and a cemita from Sabor Mexicano, and tortas from Tacos Guichos. Papalo kind of gives the cemita a minty like flavor which conflicts with the spiciness of the chipotle. I also prefer the softer texture of the bollilo roll which is really French bread. All the tortas and cemitas I ate at both carts were either pork or chicken based.
    While the pork at both carts on Roosevelt were excellent, I really could not find decent carne asada there. None of the carts on Roosevelt avenue make a proper carne asada, it usually has a stringy steakum like texture from almost every establishment I visited. However there is one place that makes good quality carne asada, that actually is steak, its a truck near the Jamaica Library off of Hillside avenue, the truck does not look like much, but I bought three carne asada tacos, and was blown away by the quality of the beef, it was pretty good for a truck, and nicely seasoned with a garlicky lemony flavor. Their pork is not as tasty as the establisments on Roosevelt though. Its also more expensive than the Roosevelt avenue carts, $2.50 a taco, they also have a special, 3 tacos and rice and beans for $8. Their torta is also superior to what is found in Jackson Heights.

  6. I will have to check that one out. I can’t get a grip on why anyone would choose a torta over a cemita though.

    I agree, the carts aren’t the best places to get them. Coatzingo and Mi Puebla II have been my favs thusfar. Tia Julia does a huge one. I don’t have as much Torta experience though, ever since I found out about Cemitas I haven’t wanted another torta.

  7. […] What is a Cemita? Sara on Serious Eats Searches for a Cemita in Queens Cabrito’s Cemita looks great – […]

  8. […] at Boozy Burbs got all excited that maybe we’d see the like of tortas, cemitas and other more authentic Mexican foods at this joint! But alas, the menu it filled with more […]

  9. […] has it’s own specialties, but many carry some of the same items like tacos, tamales, tortas, cemitas and many others. Our guide Jeff tried our best to order the best from each and as a group we […]

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