Since an eighteenth century English earl first demanded “meat between two slices of bread” in order to continue his game of cribbage uninterrupted, the sandwich has blossomed into a universally loved dietary staple.
While classics like ham and cheese and BLT have rightly reserved their place in the sandwich hall of fame, there are some more unusual creations from around the world that are so decadent and so delicious that they put tuna mayo to shame. Here are some of the greatest global sarnies.
1. Japan - Katsu-sando
Katsu and sandwiches are both awesome, so what’s not to love about putting them together? A katsu-sando has many variants and can be prepared with several different meats, including pork and chicken. Breaded, fried and paired with a traditional tangy tonkatsu sauce, the meat is then served between two slices of white bread for a soft, springy finish.
2. Belgium - Mitraillette
This is sandwich decadence: redefined. The mitraillette consists of half a baguette, crammed full of Belgian fries, fried meats (including burger, sausage and steak) and a variety of different sauces, such as mayonnaise, andalouse and bearnaise. A favourite of Belgium’s student population, this monstrous creation is as delicious as it is depraved. Very naughty, but very yummy.
3. Vietnam - Banh-Mi
The baguette has been part of Vietnamese culture since the French invasion and colonisation of Indo-China. A typical banh-mi consists of baguette stuffed will all manner of meats and seafood, with pickled vegetables and a host of condiments. With great flavour, infinite variety and roots in two separate cultures, this sandwich is the ultimate East-meets-West mashup.
4. USA - Philly Cheesesteak
America has given many great sandwiches to the world. However, probably the most well loved is Philadelphia's cheesesteak. Thinly sliced beef and melted cheese, served on a soft Amoroso roll, the cheesesteak is an American fast food classic that can hold its own against any sandwich from around the world. Invented by hot dog vendors Pat and Harry Olivieri in the 1930s, the cheesesteak is now rightly celebrated as a touchstone of Philly’s cultural identity.
5. India - Vada Pav
By and large, great sandwiches cater to carnivores. But, vegetarians need not abandon all hope of enjoying a delicious bready treat. India’s vada pav consists of a deep fried spiced potato dumpling in a bread roll, served alongside a host of chutneys and pickles. The “Bombay burger”, as it is also known, just goes to show that a sandwich doesn’t need meat to be utterly delicious.
6. Britain - Chip Butty
Despite sandwiches’ aristocratic origins in Britain, it is the working classes who have really made them an inescapable fact of British life. If there is is one sandwich today that truly resonates across the whole country it is the inimitable chip butty. It’s beauty is in its simplicity. Thick cut chips, buttered white bread and lashings of ketchup all contribute to make this sandwich so much greater than the sum of its parts. A great British icon.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what the world of sandwiches has to offer. The joy of the sandwich is that the possibilities are endless - your choice of filling is limited only by your imagination. We can’t wait to see what will come to be considered a great in the years to come.