Here in the states, we have our staple sandwiches. Namely, the peanut butter and jelly. The ultimate. But we can’t be so short sighted to think that our staple sandwiches are the only options out there in the big world of sandwiches. In fact, each country has their own staple sandwich! Their own PB&J, if you will. Looking to expand your sandwich pallet? Let’s take a look at 11 popular sandwiches from around the world.
Döner — Turkey
You’ve probably had Döner meat without knowing it; it’s essentially just beef, chicken, lamb or veal. If you’ve ever gone to town on one of those meat kebabs from a street cart, you’ve had Döner meat! The staple sandwich in Turkey is one of these meats, roasted on a vertical spit and then sandwiched in a pita with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and pickled cucumbers.
Vegemite — Australia
I have tried this stuff before… unpleasant. Vegemite is an Australian spread made from the leftover yeast of beer making. Sounds delicious right off the bat. A vegemite sandwich is a popular breakfast dish for Aussies, usually paired with some cheese. Although vegemite is the richest known source for vitamin B, only one jar is sold internationally for every 30 sold in Australia. Shocker.
Cemita — Mexico
This sounds like a literal dream come true. Deep-fried beef is layered with avocado, white cheese, onions, herbs, and salsa roja. The bread is light and fluffy, and is usually an egg-based brioche bread. Yum. Fun fact: the name cemita refers to the sandwich AND the bread the sandwich traditionally uses.
Bánh mì — Vietnam
Another name that means both bread and the sandwich it houses. This sandwich is the perfect combination of French and Vietnamese culinary influences, referred to as Viet-Franco food. A French-introduced baguette is used for bread and filled to the brim with mayo, cilantro, garlic and fish sauce, cucumber, pickled carrots, plus either barbecue pork, fried tofu, pork belly, ham, and pâté. They’re not messing around. The sandwich was invented in the 1920’s in Vietnam and was brought over to The States when the inventor escaped to California in 1972 to avoid the war.
Donkey Burger — China
There is no sugar coating this one, it just is what it is —Donkey on a bun. To make matters worse, this is typically a sandwich served cold. Donkey on a bun, sure. But cold donkey on a bun? Dear God. The donkey burger is a local specialty in the Hebei province and it has a saying to go along with it: “In Heaven there is dragon meat, on Earth there is donkey meat.” Right.
Arepa — Venezuela
Arepa technically refers to the crispy yet chewy maize-based dough used to make these pockets of goodness, but it also refers to the sandwich…which is basically whatever you want it to be. Cheese, avocado, beef, pulled pork — there are no rules about what to put on an arepa. Best. Breakfast. Ever.
Medianoche — Cuba
Literally translated into “midnight” this sandwich was designed for post-bar-munchies. This late night staple got its start by being served at midnight in Havana clubs and is one seriously upgraded grilled cheese. With layers of roast pork, Swiss, ham, pickles, and mustard all pressed and melted on an egg-roll, you have to imagine some very happy drunk people have enjoyed this masterpiece.
Bocadillo — Spain
There are two types of sandwiches in Spain. The “sandwich,” which is just made on regular old white bread, and the Bocadillo, which is made of rustic barra de pan bread and a Tortilla Española. The Tortilla Española is an omelet made with eggs and potatoes, served with onions and any meat your heart desires. It's usually topped with aioli or tomato sauce. Look at you Spain, all fancy and having two categories of sandwiches.
Vada Pav — India
Veggie burgers are really the way to go in India, but with so many to choose from, the Vada Pav is still the nationwide favorite. This veggie burger consists of a batata vada potato fritter sandwiched between two slices of pav bread. It’s traditionally served with a chutney made of shredded coconut, tamarind pulp, and garlic. This beloved sandwich once started out as food for the poor, but quickly caught on and is now served at the country's nicest restaurants.
Smörgåstårta — Sweden
First of all, most fun sandwich name ever. Second of all, this translates into English literally as “cake sandwich,” which is even more amazing. This actual cake sandwich layers rye bread with creamy fillings such as egg, mayo, olives, shrimp, ham, caviar, and smoked salmon. You so fancy, Sweden.
Montreal-style Smoked Meat — Canada
This is one serious sandwich. Montreal-style smoked meat is a Canadian staple, made by salting and curing beef brisket in spices and letting it absorb for a week. The sandwich is sold stacked high (too high, how do you eat this thing?!) on rye and with piles of mustard. Montreal-style meat can be ordered by the amount of fat in the brisket. There’s lean, old-fashioned, and “speck,” which is essentially all fat and no meat.