A sandwich revolution on four wheels – GUBO from the MB 409.

The Mercedes-Benz 409 from GUBO

As a designer, Szilveszter Büi has a good sense of aesthetics. The Mercedes-Benz 409 that he restored himself reflects this, as does his own specialty, the “GUBO”.

GUBO – a cocoon with a tasty filling.

What do an industry designer, a musician, an Anglicist and a chef have in common? With their GUBO sandwiches they have revolutionized toast and transported street food culture to Hungary. For the last three months, they have been selling their own creations in Budapest from a converted Mercedes-Benz 409. The founder, Szilveszter, has a secret to his success: a special recipe, regional ingredients and patented preparation. GUBO is Hungarian and means cocoon. If you take a closer look at the sandwiches then it becomes obvious why: the oval bread rolls completely enclose the filling. This prevents any of the tasty filling from dripping out.

No more annoying drops and splatters. The GUBO sandwiches are easy to eat.

Streetfood is on the rise.

In contrast to America or Germany, street food is not especially common in Eastern Europe. “Festivals and open-air events always offer the same things”, explains Szilveszter. “Either fish, Lángos or gyros.” A sandwich that is both appealing to the eye and practical to eat? Two and a half years ago, Szilveszter identified the culinary innovation as a market niche. The qualified industrial designer gradually developed the recipe and the shape of the GUBO. He also designed and built the stainless-steel mold and press himself. Yet the rent for a shop of his own was simply too expensive in Budapest, prompting Szilveszter to purchase a van to sell his sandwiches.

Krisztian Laki preparing a sandwich

Krisztian Laki is a trained chef and responsible for preparing the GUBO sandwiches.

20,000 hours of work.

He quickly decided on a Mercedes-Benz 409 from 1971. The original beige-white ambulance is almost unrecognizable after the extensive modifications. He has invested 20,000 hours of hard work and passion in the classic van. Szilveszter’s friends and family also supported him. Even his children helped with the modifications. After initial difficulties, the team also found the perfect place to park the van: at a food truck market in the courtyard of a former barracks located in the heart of Budapest: The location is open all year round. Events are also planned for the summer: live music or sport broadcasts. Then the guests will have the opportunity to choose between GUBO with salmon, chicken, mozzarella or egg. Szilveszter hopes for a good first season in order to make a name for the GUBO and possibly start a franchise based around the press and the mold.

Profile Mercedes-Benz MB 409

Permitted gross vehicle weight

3,490 kg

Production year

1971

Engine displacement

2,307 ccm

Engine

M115 V23

Power output

66 kW/ 90 hp

Wheelbase

2,950 mm

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The GUBO food truck starts its first season in Budapest in 2017.

Szilveszter also developed and built the mold and press for the sandwiches himself. They are made of stainless steel.

The GUBO behind the van’s counter

Three of the four GUBO team members: Krisztian Laki, Szilveszter Büi and Szilvia Weil (from left to right).

Every GUBO sandwich includes freshly grilled vegetables along with lettuce and leeks.

The interior of the GUBO foodtruck

As an industrial designer, Szilveszter had an easy time designing the interior of the 409 for his purposes.

The front side of Szilveszter’s 409

All of the conversion work on the 409 was carried out at Szilveszter’s house, first in a tent and later in the garage.

Smoked salmon GUBO

Ingredients

  • Smoked salmon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red onion
  • Roma lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella (slices)
  • Creamed horseradish
  • Capers
  • GUBO bread or ciabatta
  1. Fry the smoked salmon with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the capers and creamed horseradish and allow the mixture to thicken slightly.
  2. In a second pan, lightly braise the onions in olive oil until they are glassy. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss gently in the juices. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the mozzarella and brown slightly on both sides.
  3. Cut the GUBO into two halves and add the filling. Then place in the press. Alternatively, cut ciabatta bread in half and brown slightly in a pan. Place the grilled vegetables, the mozzarella and the salmon mixture on the bread. Garnish with arugula and season with salt and pepper.

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