From bánh mì to sabich: Here’s what a classic sandwich looks like all over the world
Few things are as classic as the chip butty, a sarnie that anyone from the UK will swear by.
However, people who aren’t from the UK tend to be baffled by the sandwich. Chips? In bread? Outrageous! Different countries around the world have their go-to sarnie, the staple filler of every lunchbox.
Sure, you know what a croque monsieur is, but we’re looking a little further afield. Here are some of our favourite sandwiches from around the world (and don’t worry, some of them actually include chips too).
1. Belgium: Miltraillette
The French meaning of “miltraillette” is literally “submachine gun,” and that gives you an idea of what a beast this sandwich is.
If you’re on a diet or skipping carbs, this really isn’t the lunch for you. It’s a baguette is stuffed with French fries, fried meat, sauce and various extras.
Every friterie (traditional restaurant) in Belgium will have their own version of the miltraillette, interchanging the meats and sauces and some adding salad.
2. Brazil: Bauru
Many sandwiches from South America are heavily meat-based, which is unsurprising considering the cuisine there.
The Brazilian bauru is a simple but effective sandwich. The soft part of a French baguette is removed to make extra room for the filling. It’s stuffed with roast beef, tomato, pickled cucumber and cheese that is melted in a bain-marie. The cheese tends to be mozzarella – perfect for getting gooey.
3. Chile: Chacarero
The chacarero is a Chilean steak sandwich. The steak is thinly sliced (or sometimes pork is used), and served on a white round roll with tomatoes, green beans and chilli.
Green beans might not be a conventional salad filling for a sarnie, but it’s wildly popular in Chile – chacarero stalls are dotted around cities, and you’ll be able to grab one from almost any café.
4. China: Roujiamo
Roujiamo literally means “meat sandwich,” which gives you a pretty good idea as to what’s in this bad boy.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just ham shoved in between some bread. The meat (normally pork) is stewed for hours in a soup that is full of spices and seasoning, so it’s bursting with flavour. It’s then chopped up, mixed with coriander and peppers and stuffed into a type of flatbread that’s chewy in texture.
It originated in the Shaanxi province, but is now a common streetfood all over the country, and is also known as the Chinese hamburger.
5. Denmark: Smørrebrød
Open-faced sandwiches are something of a way of life in the Nordic countries, and Denmark is no exception.
The smørrebrød is a piece of dark rye bread, piled high with various toppings – whether it’s meats, fish, cheese, eggs or salad. Pickled herrings are a particularly popular choice in Denmark.
6. Israel: Sabich
Tourists probably know Israel for its falafel pittas (which are undoubtedly delicious), but if you’re an Israeli your go-to lunchtime sandwich is more likely to be the sabich.
Once again it uses pita as its base, which is stuffed with fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, a tahini sauce, parsley and other bits of salad.
The Iraqi Jews brought it to Israel, and luckily it’s pretty easy to whip up yourself wherever you are in the world.
7. Portugal: Francesinha
The francesinha isn’t one for the faint-hearted, and we doubt that any doctor would recommend eating this every day. But if you are in Portugal, you need to try this national dish.
It involves two thick slices of bread with slices of steak, ham and two types of sausage in the middle. If you thought this wasn’t hearty enough, the whole sarnie is covered in melted cheese, a tomato and beer sauce and a fried egg to top it off.
To continue the carb-fest, you’d be hard-pressed to find a francesinha served without chips on the side.
8. Puerto Rico: Tripleta
Puerto Rico has a thriving street food scene, where the tripleta sandwich is king.
The name of the sarnie is pretty telling, because it contains three different types of meat – marinated steak, roast pork and ham (that tends to be smoked). This is stuffed into a soft, white bread roll and then all manner of extras are piled in – cheese, onions, potatoes, various sauces and salads.
The tripleta can be eaten as is, or grilled.
9. Taiwan: Gua Bao
Bao are steamed buns that are popular in East Asia. The Taiwanese use this fluffy, chewy bun as the base for their sandwich of choice – the gua bao.
A typical gua bao is stuffed with shredded braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, coriander and peanuts. It’s sold as street food across the country, where you are often given the option of fatty or lean pork (pro tip: go for half and half).
10. South Africa: Gatsby
The Gatsby sandwich is said to have been created by the owner of a Cape Town fish and chip shop in the Seventies. When he ran out of fish, he filled a loaf with chips, bologna sausage and pickle, cut it in four and voila! He had created a new sandwich.
Nowadays, the sandwich has evolved. It’s tends to be made of long bread rolls filled with bologna, chips and piri piri sauce. There are many variations across the country, including some with fish, egg or calamari.
11. US: Po’boy
As with most countries, favourite sandwiches differ from region to region. There’s the pastrami sarnie of New York and the lobster rolls of New England, but we’re picking out the po’boy as the most interesting on offer in the US.
Heralding from Louisiana, it’s a baguette (well, the New Orleans version of a baguette) stuffed with meat (normally roast beef) and a type of fried seafood, whether it’s shrimp, crawfish or crab. As always, there are multiple variations of the sandwich – it can be served with gravy, mayo, hot sauce and some salad.
12. Vietnam: Bánh mì
Anyone who’s been to Vietnam will know that there’s some French influence in the cuisine from the from the country’s colonisation.
The national sandwich is no exception. The bánh mì’s base is a French baguette that is crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s traditionally filled with pork, pâté, herbs and veg like pickled carrots, cucumber, daikon and coriander.
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