21 great sandwiches of the world - how many have you tried?
PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 May 2019
British Sandwich Week begins on May 19. So let's get creative. Forget about those limp cheese and ham or tuna mayo sarnies and try one of our more drool-worthy suggestions from across the globe.
This one's not for the faint-hearted and when I ordered it in the Portuguese city my friends (especially Debs the veg) gasped at its sheer, unapologetic, gut-busting proportions. It remains one of my favourite continental conquests. White bread filled with spicy sausage, slices of ham and steak. A layer of cheese covers the whole thing, which is drenched in an additive tomato-beer sauce, grilled and served with chips for dipping. I can taste it now!
A dainty triangular sandwich with two sides pressed down and one left open, brimming with whatever filling the chef's decided to push inside. We've had these for aperitivo (basically cocktail hour) in Rome, and at a small café up in the mountains of Umbria. One of the most delicious combinations was ripped buffalo mozzarella, fresh pesto, rocket and slices of ripe tomato, with a sprinkle of salt.
Pan Bagnat, France
Hailing predominately from the Provencal region, this beauty combines a round country bread or roll, with ingredients typical of a Nicoise salad. The bread is often annointed with olive oil, sometimes garlic too, before being pressed with tomato, olives, tuna, anchovies and perhaps a little salad.
Po' Boy, New Orleans
If you've been to this fine city, you'll have definitely had a po' boy…and a beignet no doubt too. Fried meat, shellfish or seafood (often shrimp or oysters), is tucked into a bread which essentially takes its cue from the French baguette. Sometimes there'll be Creole mustard. And 'dressed' versions add in salad, pickles and mayo. A dash of hot sauce is a must.
Now this one looks pretty retro (we're talking Fanny Craddock style) but it's also quite impressive. Basically white bread, mayo, salad and smoked salmon, prawns and sometimes other cured seafood, are layered upon each other and dressed- often with a collar of cucumber shavings. It's a great centrepiece for a buffet if you want to make an impression.
Philly cheesesteak, Philadelphia
There are cheesesteaks…and there are cheesesteaks. If you want to try the real thing you have to go to its homeland of Philly. But do your research first because for every great cheesesteak there will be dozens of rubbish ones. Soft, 'hero' sub-style bread has tucked into it fried onions and green peppers, shavings of tender steak, and a melting cheese sauce. You'll need lots of napkins.
Cuban sandwich, Florida
Most associated with Miami, the Cuban is one of the most-copied sandwiches in the world. Why? It's damn tasty. Inside fluffy Cuban bread is ham, marinated roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. It's a real mouthful.
An easy one for you to make at home. Unleavened flatbread is infused with flavour from a range of fillings, which could include seasoned lamb, maybe with some fresh herbs, or perhaps shredded spinach and crumbled feta. The whole thing is pressed so the centre and flatbread join in harmony.
Louisville Hot Brown, Kentucky
Still served today at its place of origin - The Brown Hotel. Legend has it the sandwich was created for weary guests in the 20s, to keep them dancing (and drinking) into the wee hours (sneaky).
Shamelessly creamy and delicious, the chef's concoction sees white bread covered with turkey and bacon plus a luxurious cheesy Mornay sauce.
One of my favourite lunches in this city - aside from the tapas. A pringa is meant to be the meaty remains of a classic soup, smudged in a bun, but the variants I ate there ranged from shredded, savoury pulled Iberico pork, to a kind of spicy paste of chorizo and pork, sandwiched into teensy, crispy hot rolls. Lovely stuff.
The Gatsby, South Africa
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Baguette, chips, steak, curry seasoning. Enough said. Probably one of the best hangover cures known to man.
Is this what keep's the country's football players going? A stonker of a sandwich, this one's filled with steak, ham, bacon, mozzarella, tomatoes, olives and, crikey, a fried egg too. In the native language it means 'little goat'.
Bacon butty, UK
Is there anything more satisfying (unless you're a vegetarian of course) than a late night butty? There has to be thick white bread. A decent dose of real butter. And crispy smoked bacon, the edges all frazzled and golden. Whether you're a brown sauce or tommy K sauce kind of person is up to you. I personally like bit of English mustard.
Balik Ekmek, Istanbul
This city is renowned for its seafood. From stuffed mussels, to this incredibly simple bit of fare, best eaten on the banks of the Bosphorus. It's literally charred mackerel in bread, often with some pickled vegetables. A wonderful antidote to the heavily spiced meat dishes and stews typical of Turkey.
What we eat, drunkenly leaving the kebab shop after midnight, can't hold a candle to the real deal in Greece. Lamb grilled to savoury perfection, sliced into a flatbread with salad and tzatziki. It's a thing of beauty. And if you can get yours with chips inside too, fair game to you.
Hobz biz-zeit, Malta
If you've never eaten in Malta, go. There's a strong foodie culture. Amazing breads, olive groves, the fresh goats' cheese gbejna, warm fig rolls with fennel seeds. And there's this sandwich, almost like a Maltese pizza. Often generous in size, this open sarnie is covered in a sweet tomato 'kunserva' and topped with all kinds of things. I've eaten it with course local sausage, with preserved fish, with vegetables and mozzarella. A must-try.
Brazil's known for its beef production, and they really make the most of it in this stodgy sandwich. Crisp baguette-like bread is piled high with slices of roast beef, tomatoes, pickles and melted mozzarella. Some of the crumbs are scooped out of the bread to pack as much filling in as possible.
Banh Mi, Vietnam
Dating back to Saigon in the 50s at the end of French colonisation, the base of this rich sandwich is a Gallic baguette. The French connection continues with a smear of pate and cooked meats, given a burst of Asian freshness with pickled vegetables, and maybe a sprinkle of chopped coriander.
Katsu sando, Japan
Sandwiches aren't something you'd necessarily associate with Japan - but these are a real thing. First you take pillowy soft Japanese bread, which is a touch sweeter than what we're used to. A cutlet of meat (pork, beef or chicken) coated in panko breadcrumbs, is fried and positioned in the centre. Then there's a sweet-savoury tonkatsu sauce and, as a final flourish, finely shredded white cabbage.
Pav is actually the name of the little rolls used to make this street food sandwich. It's a brilliant one for veggies and vegans to try at home. Imagine a kind of headily spiced mash, fresh fragrant herbs and sliced vegetables and you're part way there.
This one's great for feeding a crowd if you're after something different to a burger. Fried beef sits in a bun with slices of avocado, shredded cheese, pickled chillies and herbs. It is wonderful.