Around The World In 10 Delicious Sandwiches

01 November 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden

Unsplash: Aurela Redenica

If it’s been a minute since you’ve had a very memorable and tasty sandwich, then you're in for a treat. Don’t worry because this reading can only make you hungry, not hangry.

Before we start talking about this humble food, it is important to note that the origin of the simple sandwich may be found in mid-17th century Europe with the 4th Earl of the Sandwich. The name of this delicate food was attributed to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich after French novelist Pierre-Jean Grosley published a book titled Londres (A Tour to London) in which he described what he saw:


“A minister of state passed four and twenty hours at a public gaming-table, so absorpt in play, that, during the whole time, he had no subsistence but a bit of beef, between two slices of toasted bread, which he eat (sic) without ever quitting the game. This new dish grew highly in vogue, during my residence in London: it was called by the name of the minister, who invented it.”

Even though the anecdote didn’t explicitly mention the word “sandwich,” people assumed that the description was referring to the 4th Earl of Sandwich. As soon as the name gained popularity, English-speaking people started using the term “sandwich” to refer to foods with two pieces of bread and something in the middle.

The term "sandwich" is said to have been first used in the modern context by Edward Gibbon in his journal:

“That respectable body, of which I have the honour of being a member, affords every evening a sight truly English. Twenty or thirty, perhaps, of the first men in the kingdom, in point of fashion and fortune, supping at little tables covered with a napkin, in the middle of a coffee-room, upon a bit of cold meat, or a sandwich, and drinking a glass of punch.”

With that bit of information, you could assume that John Montagu sort of came up with the concept of the sandwich, but that is not true. The truth is: we don’t really know who invented this handheld meal. In fact, the simple sammich has existed all around the world in different forms for many, many years. And now, these wonderbreads are great windows to the diverse cuisine around us. So, do you have a favorite type of sandwich?

Vietnam: Bánh Mì

Bánh mì or banh mi is a typical Vietnamese street food sandwich with savory meats (like chả lụa or pork sausage), creamy mayonnaise, and tasty-pickled–crunchy-veggies. Other typical fillings include shredded chicken, Xíu Mại (Chinese-style pork meatballs), Nem Chua (sour pork), Gà Nướng (grilled chicken), Nem Nướng (grilled pork patties). One of the most popular varieties of bánh mì is prepared with a range of Vietnamese cold cuts, liver pâté, head cheese (cold cut terrine or meat jelly), and carrots or cucumbers.

Bánh mì Types:

  • Bánh mì cá mòi – sardine sandwich
  • Bánh mì chả cá – fish patty sandwich
  • Bánh mì kẹp kem – ice cream sandwich topped with crushed peanuts
  • Bánh mì bì – shredded pork sandwich with fish sauce

Pakistan: Bun Kabab

In cities all over Pakistan, a Bun Kabab is an affordable and beloved street food. It is a simple and vegetarian sandwich made with a filling of a lentil patty filling (fried after being covered in egg wash), red onions, chutney, and soft, sweet buns to hold the whole thing together.

Japan: Fruit Sando (フルーツサンド)

Upgrade your bento box with slices of Fruit Sando! It is a simple sandwich prepared from fluffy Japanese milk bread aka shokupan, fresh fruit pieces, and creamy whipped cream. Seasonal fruit pieces can include mangos, kiwis, oranges, strawberries, and even blueberries.

When assembling a fruit sandwich, trim the crust from the Japanese milk bread before slicing it in half to reveal the rich center full of cream and fruits.

Spain: Bocadillo

When in Spain, make sure to try a delicious and traditional Spanish bocadillo. This handy sandwich, also known as bocata, is served on a baguette or any type of Spanish bread similar to it. The bread is sliced lengthwise and it is flavored with aioli, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, or even tomato sauce. Then, it is filled with cold cuts, jamón, tuna, or Spanish chorizo.

Bocadillo Types:

  • Bocadillo de nocilla y chorizo
  • Bocadillo de bonito del norte
  • Bocadillo de huevos fritos
  • Bocadillo de pisto
  • Bocadillo de morcilla
  • Bocadillo de sardinas
  • Bocadillo de sepia
  • Bocadillo de anchoas

Netherlands: Broodje Kroket

Broodje kroket is a favorite Dutch street food sandwich. It consists of two slices of bread, a deep-fried meat ragu (shaped like a tube), and a drizzle of spicy mustard. This convenient sandwich is available almost anywhere in the Netherlands; in fact, you can even find this easy treat in McDonald’s known as the “McKroket.”

United Kingdom: Chip Butty

Chip butty might sound a bit funny, but this classic British sandwich is a definite must-try. It is a carb-overload chips sandwich (thick-cut french fry sandwich). Think about a hot handful of chips placed in between two buttered white bread; now, this greasy comfort combination is what chip butty is all about. You can modify the chip butty for extra flavor by adding some ketchup or mustard, a couple of cheese slices, or whatever your heart fancies.

Greece: Gyro

Gyro pronounced as yee-ro is a very popular Greek street food. The dish consists of meat (chicken, lamb, veal, or pork) cooked on a vertical spit, then sliced into thin shavings. The meat shavings are stuffed inside pita bread together with veggies like tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and cucumbers served with tzatziki sauce.

United States: Peanut Butter and Jelly

It’s peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! Peanut butter jelly time! If you think that peanut butter and jelly slathered on bread sounds funky, then you need to try PB&J.

Steps to PB&J:

  1. Grab two slices of bread (any sliced bread of your choice: wheat, white, multigrain, etc…)
  2. Spread peanut butter on one side of the bread (any peanut butter of your choice: crunchy, creamy, regular, etc…)
  3. Spread jelly on the other side of the bread (any jelly of your choice: strawberry, grape, raspberry, etc…)
  4. Put the bread slices together. (you can remove the crusts and cut the sandwich, that is up to you)
  5. Serve and enjoy

South Africa: Gatsby

There, there old sport. If you’re hungry, have a bite of Cape Town's signature sub called Gatsby. It is a toasted, food-long, French-style bread sliced lengthwise, loaded with slap tjips (french fries) and meat filling that may include masala steak, polony (bologna), or chicken. Then, it is covered with mustard, ketchup, piri-piri sauce, or achar pickles.

The made-to-share Gatsby of South Africa was given that name in 1976 by a man by the name of Froggy who assisted in renovating Rashaad Pandy's shop. Because of its massive size and extremely rich filling, Froggy referred to the sandwich Pandy presented him and the rest of his coworkers as the "Gatsby," making reference to the film The Great Gatsby that had recently been screened at the Athlone theater.

Egypt: Hawawshi

Ahmed al-Hawawsh, a butcher in Cairo in the 1970s, created the legendary Hawawshi, which is pronounced hah-wow-she. Hawawshi, also called as baladi in Alexandria, is made by stuffing crispy pita pockets with ground meat that has been spiced with fresh herbs, cumin, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, garlic, onions, and occasionally chili peppers.

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