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60 of the Most Delicious Sandwiches From Around the World

Don’t you just love a good sandwich? I do.

For me, the sandwich is like the perfect comfort food. It’s something I gravitate to no matter where we are in the world. It’s portable, it can be a complete meal, and you can eat it pretty much anywhere using little more than your hands. Plus, it’s often a cheap and filling choice of dish when you’re traveling on a budget.

From the classic American BLT to the tasty but heavy Portuguese francesinha, here are sixty delicious sandwiches that you need to try from different countries around the world.

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Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

WHAT IS A SANDWICH?

For purists, a sandwich is a portable dish made with a variety of different ingredients like meats, vegetables, cheese, and spreads held together between two pieces of bread, usually sliced bread. While this definition may be accepted in the west, in other parts of the world, that isn’t always the case.

The modern definition of a sandwich can be traced back to 18th-century England. It’s named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. While playing a game of cribbage, he asked that pieces of meat be served to him between two pieces of bread so he wouldn’t have to eat with a fork or get the cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.

While the term “sandwich” may be credited to Lord Montagu, meals consisting of meat enjoyed between pieces of bread or wrapped in bread have been consumed for much longer than that.

One of the earliest recorded eaters of meat wrapped in bread was Hillel the Elder, a rabbi and scholar who lived in Jerusalem during the first century BCE. He’s said to have wrapped Paschal lamb and bitter herbs in soft matzah flatbread during Passover. Known as the Koreich, it’s a meal that’s still prepared to this day during the Passover Seder.

The truth is, the concept of a sandwich made with two pieces of bread is more of a western definition. In the broadest sense, a sandwich is a portable meal consisting of different ingredients held together by bread.

A sandwich can be made in many ways. The fillings can be served between two slices of bread, they can be stuffed in a bun or roll, or wrapped in flatbread. By that definition, hamburgers, hot dogs, hoagies, tacos, and burritos are all examples of sandwiches.

DELICIOUS SANDWICHES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

This is a big list of sandwiches. To make it easier to digest, I’ve broken it down by continent. Click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.

  1. North America
  2. South America
  3. Europe
 
  1. Asia
  2. Africa

NORTH AMERICA

1. BLT (USA)

The BLT is a textbook example of a classic sandwich. BLT stands for “bacon, lettuce, and tomato” and refers to the main ingredients used to make this popular sandwich.

Recipes for the BLT may vary but at its most basic, it’s made with bacon, lettuce, sliced tomato, and mayonnaise sandwiched between two slices of toasted bread. It can be made with any type of bread like white, rye, or whole wheat bread.

Depending on preference, additional ingredients can be added to a BLT sandwich like avocados and other types of sliced meat. When made with three slices of bread and two tiers of ingredients, it becomes known as a club sandwich.

BLT sandwich

Photo by Nalga

2. Club Sandwich (USA)

A club sandwich (or clubhouse sandwich) is a type of sandwich made with bacon, ham, chicken or turkey, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise sandwiched between three slices of toasted white bread. The sandwich is cut into quarters or halves and held together by cocktail sticks.

The club sandwich is basically a larger version of the BLT. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and white bread are standard ingredients. Depending on preference, other ingredients like grilled chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese, and mustard are added to the sandwich.

Club sandwiches are often garnished with a pickle and served with a side of french fries, potato chips, potato salad, or coleslaw.

Classic club sandwich with french fries

Photo by bbivirys

3. PB&J (USA)

When I think of the US and American food, one of the first dishes that comes to mind is the PB&J. It’s one of the most iconic sandwiches on this list. Short for “peanut butter and jelly sandwich”, this simple but delicious sandwich is quintessential American comfort food.

As its name suggests, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich consists of peanut butter and fruit jam spread between two slices of untoasted white bread. It’s a favorite among children, with the average American estimated to consume around 1,500 PB&J sandwiches before graduating from high school.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Photo by baibaz

4. Grilled Cheese Sandwich (USA)

Like the PB&J, the grilled cheese sandwich is a simple sandwich but it’s also one of the most delicious. It’s a type of hot toasted or grilled sandwich made with two slices of bread slathered with butter and oozing with melted cheese.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are commonly made with American or cheddar cheese, though any type of melted cheese can be used. The cheese is sandwiched between two slices of bread and then heated until the bread browns and the cheese melts.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious on their own but they’re even better when paired with tomato soup. A grilled cheese sandwich served with a hot bowl of tomato soup is one of my absolute favorite food pairings.

Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup

Photo by bhofack2

5. Corned Beef Sandwich (USA)

The corned beef sandwich is a Jewish deli staple consisting of corned beef and mustard served between two slices of toasted rye bread. It can be made with sauerkraut and is typically served with a pickle on the side.

Corned beef sandwich

Photo by chasbrutlag

In our native Philippines, we have a type of corned beef sandwich that’s commonly eaten for breakfast or for merienda (light afternoon snack). It’s made with canned corned beef served in pan de sal, a soft Filipino bread roll that’s typically eaten for breakfast.

Filipino corned beef sandwich

Photo by audioscience

6. Reuben Sandwich (USA)

The Reuben sandwich is a type of grilled corned beef sandwich. It’s made with swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing (or Russian dressing) served between two slices of grilled rye bread.

There are several theories explaining the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One popular account claims that it’s named after Reuben Kulakofsky (shortened to Reuben Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer living in Omaha, Nebraska.

During a weekly poker game at the Blackstone Hotel, Reuben Kay asked for a sandwich made with corned beef and sauerkraut. It was served to him with swiss cheese and thousand island dressing on rye bread. The sandwich quickly gained fame when the hotel added it to its lunch menu.

Interestingly, the Reuben sandwich has become associated with kosher-style delis in the US, though the sandwich itself isn’t kosher because it contains both meat and cheese.

Reuben sandwich

Photo by fotek

7. Roast Beef Sandwich (USA)

As its name suggests, the roast beef sandwich is a type of sandwich made with thin slices of roast beef. The roast beef can be served hot or cold between two slices of bread or in a hamburger bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard (or horseradish).

Roast beef sandwiches are commonly sold at diners and fast food restaurants across the US. It’s especially popular in Boston’s North Shore area where it’s been a specialty since the early 1950s.

Served in “junior beef”, “regular”, or “super beef” sizes, Boston’s iconic roast beef sandwich is made with ultra-rare, thinly sliced beef served in an onion roll with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and a slice of white American cheese.

Roast beef sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

8. Monte Cristo (USA)

The monte cristo sandwich is a variation of the French croque monsieur (#36). It’s made with a ham and cheese sandwich that’s dipped in beaten egg and then pan-fried. It’s essentially a savory-sweet french toast ham and cheese sandwich.

In spite of its name and the French sandwich that inspired it, the monte cristo is very much an American creation. It’s said to have been invented in Southern California in the 1960s and became hugely popular after it was served at a Disneyland restaurant.

Monte cristo sandwich

Photo by Odelinde

9. Patty Melt (USA)

The patty melt is a sandwich made with a ground beef patty, melted cheese (typically swiss cheese), and caramelized onions served between two slices of grilled rye bread. It’s basically a variation of the American cheeseburger served on sliced bread instead of a hamburger bun.

Patty melt sandwich

Photo by chasbrutlag

10. Tuna Sandwich (USA)

A tuna fish sandwich is a type of sandwich made with tuna salad – canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise – served between two slices of bread. Depending on preference, it can be made with additional ingredients as well like celery, onions, hard-boiled eggs, black olives, pickle relish, lettuce, and mayonnaise. When made with melted cheese, it’s known as a tuna melt.

The tuna sandwich is one of the most widely consumed sandwiches in the US. Described as a “mainstay of almost everyone’s American childhood”, an estimated 52 percent of all canned tuna in the US is used to make sandwiches.

Tuna sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

11. Egg Salad Sandwich (USA)

As its name suggests, an egg salad sandwich is a type of sandwich made with egg salad. Similar to tuna salad or chicken salad, egg salad consists of hard-boiled or scrambled eggs mixed with mustard, mayonnaise, and other ingredients like celery, onions, herbs, and spices.

Like a tuna fish sandwich, an egg salad sandwich is typically served between two slices of bread with additional ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, and olives.

Egg salad sandwich

Photo by Williamedwards

12. Bagel Sandwich (USA)

Who doesn’t love a good bagel? Dense, chewy, and a little crisp on the outside, they go so well with cream cheese and make for the perfect breakfast dish in New York City or Montreal.

Bagels with cream cheese are great for breakfast but they can be used to make delicious all-day sandwiches as well. Whether they’re made into breakfast sandwiches with bacon and scrambled eggs or turned into a light lunch with turkey, avocados, and cherry tomatoes, there’s never a wrong time of the day for a good bagel sandwich.

While bagels are originally from Poland, the bagel sandwich is likely an American invention. It was popularized in the 1990s by specialty shops like Einstein Bros. Bagels and Bruegger’s Bagels.

Breakfast bagel sandwiches

Photo by bhofack2

13. Muffuletta (USA)

Muffuletta refers to a type of Italian bread originally from Sicily. While the bread itself has Italian roots, the muffuletta sandwich is an American invention. It was created in the early 20th century by Italian immigrants from New Orleans, Louisiana.

The muffuletta sandwich is made with a muffuletta loaf sliced in half and filled with marinated olive salad, ham, salami, mortadella, Swiss cheese, and provolone. It can be sold whole, in halves, or in quarters.

Aside from the bread, the olive salad is the defining ingredient in a muffuletta sandwich. It’s made with diced green and black olives and a host of other ingredients like celery, carrots, cauliflower, capers, sweet peppers, onions, garlic, herbs, and spices.

Muffuletta sandwich cut into quarters

Photo by gkrphoto

14. Hamburger (USA)

There are few dishes that are as representative of American cuisine as the hamburger. This sandwich consisting of a ground meat patty – usually beef – placed in a bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and other ingredients is a staple at diners and fast food restaurants across the country (and throughout the world). However, no one can really say for sure where it originated from.

White Castle traces its origin to Hamburg, Germany, which makes sense since it’s called the “hamburger” after all. One story claims that it’s originally from Wisconsin, another links it to Athens, Texas, while yet another says that it was introduced at a county fair in Hamburg, New York.

Of all the hamburger origin stories, the one that seems to carry the most weight suggests that the modern hamburger evolved from the hamburger steak, a dish of minced beef and onion patties served without bread.

Hamburger steaks were widely available in the US by the 1880s, mostly at restaurants that also served bread and sandwiches. Combining the beef patty with bread was a natural progression.

Cheeseburger with fries

Photo by bhofack2

More commonly known as a “burger”, hamburgers are typically made with beef but the patties can be made with a variety of other meats and ingredients as well like lamb, turkey, mushrooms, vegetables, and tofu.

After beef burgers, the second most popular type of burger may be the chicken burger. Like hamburgers and cheeseburgers, they’re a staple at fast food restaurants across the country.

Chicken burger with potato wedges

Photo by fotoatelie

Another popular type of burger is the fish burger. The McDonald’s version of the fish burger – the Filet-O-Fish – has been a mainstay on their menu since the mid-1960s. It was the first non-hamburger item that was added to their menu.

Fish burger

Photo by HandmadePicture

15. Sloppy Joe (USA)

I went to high school in the US and the one sandwich that made the biggest impression on me was the sloppy joe. It struck me because of its funny but perfectly suited name.

Served in a hamburger bun, a sloppy joe is a loose meat sandwich made with ground beef stewed with onions, tomato sauce (or ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. It’s a supremely messy but oddly satisfying sandwich. I enjoyed it so much I remember lapping up the loose pieces of ground beef that would fall on my plate.

Sloppy joe

Photo by bhofack2

16. Pulled Pork Sandwich (USA)

The pulled pork sandwich is one the most popular and delicious sandwiches you can eat in the southern US. It consists of barbecued and slow-smoked pork – usually pork shoulder – that’s manually shredded and then served with a vinegar-based sauce in a bun.

Proper pulled pork is commonly soaked in brine to give it the moisture it needs to cook for over twelve hours. This long, slow cooking process ensures that the pork is tender enough to be pulled apart easily, hence the name pulled pork.

Whether eaten on its own or in sandwiches, pulled pork is a must when visiting the south. Together with brisket and spare ribs, it forms the Texas Holy Trinity of Barbecue.

Pulled pork sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

17. Hot Dog (USA)

The hot dog is another American classic. It refers to a steamed or grilled sausage served in a soft hot dog bun. Though the sausages used in hot dogs are cultural transplants from Germany, the hot dog sandwich has become an important part of American street food and baseball culture.

Hot dogs are commonly topped with ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, diced onions, and cheese sauce. Depending on where you are in the world, they can be topped with other ingredients as well like sauerkraut, chili, bacon, jalapeño peppers, olives, and mayonnaise.

Hot dog

Photo by bhofack2

18. Hoagie (USA)

Also known as a sub, hero, grinder, or Italian, the term “hoagie” is what Philadelphians use to call a submarine sandwich. It refers to a family of cold or hot sandwiches made from a long bread roll split through the middle and filled with a variety of meats, shredded lettuce, vegetables, cheeses, and condiments.

The hoagie is an iconic American sandwich and recognized as the official sandwich of Philadelphia. The origin of the term “hoagie” is unclear, though one theory suggests that it gets its name from Hog Island, a World War I-era shipyard that produced emergency shipping for the war.

Italians working on the island would make sandwiches out of various meats, cheeses, and lettuce. These sandwiches became known as “Hog Island sandwiches”. The term was shortened to “Hoggies”, then ultimately “hoagie”.

Hoagie or submarine sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

19. Philly Cheesesteak (USA)

Like the hoagie, this delicious steak sandwich is an icon of Philadelphia. The Philly cheesesteak is an incredibly delicious sandwich made with thinly sliced steak served in a long hoagie roll with melted cheese – usually Cheez Whiz, American, or provolone cheese. Depending on preference, it can be topped with other ingredients as well like sauteed onions, ketchup, and hot sauce.

The Philly cheesesteak is said to have been invented by Pat and Henry Olivieri in the 1930s. They owned a hot dog stand and decided to make a new sandwich using chopped beef and grilled onions. A taxi driver fell in love with the sandwich and suggested they quit the hot dog business and focus on making these steak sandwiches instead, and so was born the Philly cheesesteak.

Personally, the Philly cheesesteak is my favorite sandwich. I’ve had it in many cities around the world but no one makes it quite like they do in Philadelphia.

Philly cheesesteak

Photo by Alp_Aksoy

20. French Dip (USA)

Also known as a beef dip, the French dip is a sandwich made with thinly sliced roast beef, swiss cheese, and onions served on a French roll or baguette. It’s served with a cup or bowl of beef broth produced during the cooking process. You’re meant to dunk your sandwich in this broth before each bite, hence the name French dip.

In spite of its name, the French dip is an American invention, its name a reference to the type of bread used to make the sandwich. No one knows who made it first but two restaurants in Los Angeles, both established in 1908, claim to have invented it – Philippe the Original and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet.

French dip sandwich

Photo by motionshooter

21. Cuban Sandwich (USA)

Like the French dip, the Cuban sandwich sounds like it was invented overseas but it’s very much an American creation. It’s a type of roast pork and cheese sandwich that became popular among Cuban communities in Florida.

The Cuban sandwich is made with roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard served on Cuban bread. Depending on where it’s from, it can be made with salami as well. Once assembled, the sandwich is placed in a press called a plancha which heats and compresses the sandwich.

The Cuban sandwich has long been at the center of a friendly rivalry between Miami and Tampa. Naturally, both cities claim to make the best version of this sandwich. The main difference between the two is that Tampa makes theirs with Genoa salami.

Cuban roast pork sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

22. Meatball Sub (USA)

Who doesn’t love a good meatball? Meatballs are perfect with spaghetti but they’re pretty darn delicious when served in a submarine sandwich as well.

A meatball sub consists of several meatballs served with tomato sauce and cheese in some type of bread roll, usually hoagie rolls or a baguette. Depending on preference, it can be made with additional ingredients as well like roasted peppers, garlic, herbs, and butter.

Personally, when I go to a Subway, I usually order just one of two sandwiches – either a Philly cheesesteak or a meatball sub.

Meatball sub

Photo by bhofack2

23. Lobster Roll (USA)

I was lucky to go to high school in New England where we had a plethora of delicious seafood dishes like Boston clam chowder and Maine lobsters. Steamed whole Maine lobster with garlic butter may be my favorite seafood dish but lobster rolls aren’t far behind.

Native to New England, a lobster roll consists of chunks of lobster meat mixed with butter (or mayonnaise), lemon juice, salt, and pepper served on a soft New England-style hot dog bun. Oh my!

Lobster roll

Photo by f11photo

24. Clam Roll (USA)

The clam roll is another specialty sandwich from New England. It consists of strips of deep-fried clams served with tartar sauce in a soft hot dog-style bread roll.

I didn’t know this at the time but apparently, fried clams are considered an iconic food in New England. According to a New York Times article, fried clams are to New England what barbecue is to the south.

To prepare, clams are dipped in evaporated milk before being coated in flour and then deep-fried in oil or lard.

Clam rolls

Photo by bandd

25. Po’ Boy (USA)

What the lobster roll is to Maine and New England, the po’ boy is to New Orleans. This classic Louisiana sandwich consists of different types of meat or fried seafood served on New Orleans-style French bread.

Before I started writing this article on the best sandwiches in the world, I thought that po’ boy sandwiches were always made with fried seafood. As it turns out, they can be made with a variety of fillings as long as they’re served in “po’ boy bread”, which is a lighter and fluffier type of French bread.

I love po’ boy sandwiches made with fried oysters (pictured below) but they can be made with other proteins as well like fried chicken, roast beef, rabbit, catfish, and alligator. Common additional ingredients include tomatoes, shredded lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise, and hot sauce.

Oyster po boy

Photo by bhofack2

I’m a seafood man so I love po’ boy sandwiches made with fried shrimp as well. Other common seafood ingredients include fried crawfish, catfish, and crab.

Shrimp po boy

Photo by bhofack2

26. Ice Cream Sandwich (USA)

Even though the word “sandwich” is officially part of this next dish’s name, it’s probably the least sandwich-like dish on this list. The ice cream sandwich is a type of frozen dessert made with ice cream sandwiched between two cookies or wafers.

American ice cream sandwiches are sandwich-like in form but they aren’t true sandwiches because they aren’t made with bread. However, in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand, ice cream sandwiches truly are sandwiches. Keep scrolling to see what I mean.

American-style ice cream sandwich

Photo by bhofack2

Ice cream sandwiches in Singapore can be served between two wafers but they can also be served in a rainbow-colored slice of bread. As strange as this looks and sounds, this version of a Singaporean ice cream sandwich can truly be called a sandwich.

Similarly, street ice cream in the Philippines can be served in pan de sal bread rolls. In Thailand, coconut ice cream can be served between slices of white bread or in a hot dog bun.

The concept of ice cream in bread may sound strange to some people but it actually works!

Ice cream sandwich in Singapore

IMG_4892” by Ken Masrhall, used under CC BY 2.0 / Processed in Photoshop and Lightroom

27. Torta Ahogada (Mexico)

Remember what I said about sandwiches being portable and easy to eat? Well, a few Mexican sandwiches like the torta ahogada turn that notion on its head.

Popular in Guadalajara and Jalisco, torta ahogada literally means “drowned sandwich” and refers to a type of meat-filled submarine sandwich drenched in a spicy tomato- and chili-based sauce.

Made with different types of pork, sliced onions, and lime juice, tortas ahogadas are delicious but nearly impossible to eat with your hands because they’re literally served in a pool of sauce. It’s the only sandwich I’ve ever eaten with a spoon!

Torta ahogada

Photo by marcoscastillo

28. Cemita Poblana (Mexico)

As I said at the top of this article, I absolutely love sandwiches and the cemita poblana may be one of my favorite sandwiches in the world. A specialty of Puebla, Mexico, it refers to a type of sandwich made with local cemita bread rolls.

Cemitas can be made with a variety of different fillings but the cemita poblana is a specific type of cemita. It’s made with chicken or pork milanesa, quesillo (Oaxaca cheese), papalo, onions, avocado, and chili peppers.

The cemita poblana is absolutely delicious and something that you need to try when you visit Puebla.

Cemita poblana

29. Guacamaya (Mexico)

This absolute beast of a sandwich is a type of Mexican torta (sandwich) from the city of León. Commonly sold as street food, the guacamaya is made with a bolillo bread roll stuffed with an absurd amount of roast pork, chicharron, avocado, salsa, and lime juice. It may not look it but it’s basically a type of Mexican open-faced sandwich.

Guacamaya

30. Pelona (Mexico)

The pelona is another type of sandwich from Puebla. It’s made with shredded meat (usually beef), lettuce, refried beans, salsa, and crema (Mexican sour cream) served on a deep-fried bread roll.

Deep-frying the bread roll gives the sandwich a unique light and crumbly texture. The word pelona literally means “baldy”. Unlike cemita bread rolls, the bread used for pelonas isn’t studded with sesame seeds.

Pelona

31. Taco (Mexico)

Before anything, authentic tacos in Mexico aren’t like the tacos you see in the US and other western countries. They aren’t made with crunchy deep-fried taco shells folded in half and stuffed with various ingredients. Instead, they consist of soft corn or wheat tortillas topped with a variety of meats (typically pork), chopped onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salsa.

The taco may not seem like a sandwich but based on the most general definition – a portable meal consisting of various ingredients held together by bread – it definitely is. Like pita bread, tortillas are a type of flatbread. They’re used as a vessel to hold the ingredients just like any other type of wrap sandwich.

Tacos

Photo by resnick_joshua1

32. Burrito (Mexico)

When people think of Mexican food, they often think of tacos and burritos. However, like the crunchy taco, there’s a common misconception that the burrito is an example of Tex-Mex or Cal-Mex cuisine and not authentic Mexican food. This is not true.

Burritos are originally from Chihuahua state in northern Mexico. They’re especially popular in Ciudad Juárez, a city that borders El Paso, Texas. I went on a food tour in Mexico City and according to my guide, burritos crossed the border and eventually became so popular that people assumed they were an example of Mexican-American food.

Burritos are a type of wrap sandwich. The Mexican version is much smaller and thinner than its often gargantuan counterpart in the US. They’re made with flour tortillas and typically filled with just one or two ingredients.

In the US, one popular type of burrito is the breakfast burrito. It’s filled with any combination of breakfast ingredients like scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, peppers, and cheese. From my understanding, it originated in New Mexico and is likely a US creation.

Burrito

Photo by odua

SOUTH AMERICA

33. Arepa (Colombia/Venezuela)

The arepa is a pre-Hispanic bread that’s especially popular in the cuisines of Venezuela and Colombia. Flat and round, it’s made with ground maize dough so it’s essentially a type of South American corn bread.

In both Colombia and Venezuela, arepas are eaten throughout the day, either as a snack or as a side dish. They can be eaten plain but they can also be stuffed with a wide variety of ingredients like shredded meat, fried eggs, black beans, avocados, plantains, and melted cheese.

Like the Mexican gordita or Middle Eastern falafel sandwich (#59), stuffed arepas are a type of pocket sandwich.

Stuffed arepa sandwiches

Photo by anamejia18

34. Choripan (Argentina)

The choripan is Argentina’s answer to the hot dog. It’s widely consumed in Argentina and in other South American countries like Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru.

In much the same way that hot dogs are synonymous with baseball games in the US, choripanes are an important part of football culture in Argentina. It’s a hugely popular sandwich snack that’s commonly sold as street food, especially outside football stadiums.

Choripanes are made with grilled chorizo sausages. The sausages are sliced down the middle and then served in a crusty bread roll with chimichurri or salsa criolla (onion relish).

Choripan

Photo by zkruger

EUROPE

35. English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich (UK)

Many of us know this irresistible combination of bread, eggs, meat, and cheese as the Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s. However, Ronald McDonald can’t take credit for the invention of this delicious breakfast sandwich.

As you can probably guess from its name, the English muffin breakfast sandwich is originally from the UK. Its origins can be traced back to the streets of 19th-century East London when vendors would set up stalls to sell easy-to-eat breakfast sandwiches to factory workers.

Made with a fried egg, meat, and sometimes cheese served between two halves of a soft roll, it’s essentially a portable sandwich version of the classic English breakfast.

English muffin breakfast sandwich

Photo by SouthernLightStudios

36. Croque Monsieur (France)

The croque monsieur is a hot ham and cheese French sandwich. It’s made with baked or boiled ham and sliced cheese (traditionally gruyere) served between two slices of pan de mie (soft bread). The sandwich is lightly seasoned and topped with grated cheese before being baked in an oven or fried in a pan.

The croque monsieur sandwich was said to have been invented at French cafes and bars as a quick snack. Monsieur is the French word for “mister” while croque means “bite”.

Croque monsieur sandwich

Photo by Dpimborough

37. Croque Madame (France)

The croque madame is a variation of the croque monsieur. It’s basically a croque monsieur sandwich served with a poached or lightly fried egg on top.

If you don’t eat meat, then you can enjoy a vegetarian version of the croque madame known as the croque mademoiselle. It’s made with pan de mie, melted cheese, and vegetables like cucumbers, chives, and lettuce.

Croque madame sandwich

Photo by Peteer

38. Croissant Sandwich (France)

The French are known for a bevy of delicious pastries like madeleines, macarons, and eclairs, but the croissant is without a doubt the most popular and iconic French pastry of them all. Flaky and buttery, few pastries can brighten up a breakfast table the way freshly baked croissants can.

Croissants are terrific with just butter or jam but they make for great sandwiches as well. Lighter than other types of bread, you can use them to make croissant versions of BLTs, ham and cheese, tuna salad, and egg salad sandwiches.

Croissant ham and cheese sandwich

Photo by ildi_papp

39. Bocadillo de Jamon (Spain)

The bocadillo de jamon is one of my favorite sandwiches in the world. It refers to a simple but delicious Spanish sandwich made with slices of jamon (ham) served in a crusty Spanish-style baguette.

Bocadillo de jamon can be made with just jamon and crusty bread – which is personally my preference – but it can also contain other ingredients like manchego cheese, black olives, tomatoes, and roasted peppers. It’s something you can find pretty much anywhere in Spain.

Bocadillo de jamon

Photo by nito103

40. Bocadillo de Calamares (Spain)

Bocadillo de calamares is a similarly simple but delicious Spanish sandwich that’s popular in Madrid, especially around Plaza Mayor. It’s made with fried squid rings served in a crusty baguette, either on their own or topped with a mildly spicy sauce made from mayonnaise, garlic, and tomatoes.

Bocadillo de calamares

Photo by myviewpoint

41. Francesinha (Portugal)

The francesinha is delicious but it has to be one of the heaviest sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

An emblematic dish in Porto regional cuisine, the francesinha is a Portuguese sandwich made with slices of white bread, linguica (Portuguese sausage), ham, and steak. It’s covered in melted cheese before being topped with a fried egg and drenched in a thick beer and tomato sauce. And if that doesn’t sound filling enough, it’s usually served with a generous portion of fries.

The word francesinha literally means “little French woman” or “frenchie” in Portuguese. It was inspired by the French croque monsieur and adapted to suit the Portuguese palate.

Francesinha

Photo by asimojet

42. Bifana (Portugal)

The bifana is one of the most popular types of sandwiches you can eat in Portugal. It refers to a Portuguese sandwich made with thin slices of marinated roast pork served on a papo seco bread roll. It can be served plain or topped with additional ingredients like bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and a fried egg.

Unlike the francesinha which is associated with Porto, the bifana can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere in Portugal. It’s originally from the town of Vendas Novas in the Alentejo region, though Lisbon is known for serving some of the best bifanas in the country.

Bifana sandwiches

Photo by PierreOlivier

43. Prego (Portugal)

Francesinhas and bifanas are tasty but the prego is hands down my favorite type of Portuguese sandwich. Like the bifana, it’s a simple sandwich made with garlicky grilled beef served in a crusty papo seco bread roll.

Pregos can be served plain – which is my personal preference – but they can also be topped with additional ingredients like cheese, ham, and a fried egg. Aside from being incredibly delicious, there are two things I find interesting about prego sandwiches.

One, the name prego literally means “nail” in Portuguese. This is in reference to how the garlic flavor is metaphorically “hammered” into the beef using a tenderizing mallet.

And two, pregos are enjoyed just as much for “dessert” in Portugal as they are as a hearty snack. They’re often the last thing Portuguese people eat after a seafood meal.

Prego sandwich in Porto

44. Gyros (Greece)

Gyros refers to a type of Greek wrap sandwich. It’s made with grilled meat – usually pork or chicken – shaved off a vertical rotisserie and served in pita bread with tzatziki, fried potatoes, vegetables, and lemon juice. It’s similar to Lebanese shawarma (#57) or Turkish doner kebab and is arguably the most well-known Greek dish outside of Greece.

Gyros wrap sandwiches

Photo by gioiak2

45. Panini (Italy)

The panini is a popular Italian sandwich made with deli ingredients like ham, salami, mortadella, vegetables, and cheese. The fillings are served on some type of Italian bread, commonly ciabatta, focaccia, or michetta.

Similar to a Cuban sandwich, paninis are pressed in a grill and served warm, often with characteristic grill marks on the bread.

Panini sandwiches

Photo by fotek

46. Ftira (Malta)

Ftira refers to a type of ring-shaped Maltese sourdough flatbread. It has a thick crust and a light internal structure with large, irregular holes.

Ftira bread is typically sliced in half and eaten like a sandwich with tuna, olive oil, tomato paste and a host of other Mediterranean ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, pickled vegetables, and fresh salad. It’s an iconic Maltese dish that was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2020.

Ftira sandwich

Photo by RenataA

47. Cevapi (Balkans)

Cevapi or cevapcici is arguably the most recognizable dish from the Balkans. Widely consumed in many countries throughout the region like Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Albania, and Slovenia, it refers to grilled minced meat sausages made from a heavily seasoned mixture of beef, lamb, pork, and mutton.

Cevapi sausages are typically eaten on their own or served in flatbread as pocket sandwiches. Common ingredients in cevapi sandwiches include ajvar (Balkan condiment), kajmak (unripened cheese), cottage cheese, sour cream, onions, and vegetables.

Cevapi pocket sandwiches

Photo by fotek

ASIA

48. Katsu Sando (Japan)

Japan is our favorite country in the world to visit and a lot of that has to do with the food. Sushi and ramen are usually the first dishes that come to mind when people think of Japanese food, but you can find amazingly delicious sandwiches in Japan as well, none tastier perhaps than the katsu sando.

Sando is the Japanese nickname for “sandwich”. Like toruko raisu (Turkish rice), Neapolitan pizzas, and hamburgers, it’s an example of yoshoku or western-inspired Japanese food.

The katsu sando is a simple sandwich made with a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet slathered with tonkatsu sauce and served between two slices of shokupan (Japanese milk bread), sometimes with thinly shredded raw cabbage. Like many dishes in Japanese cuisine, it’s simple but done to absolute perfection.

Katsu sandos are typically made with pork but the best versions are made with high-quality Japanese wagyu beef.

49. Fruit Sando (Japan)

Have you ever seen a more beautiful sandwich? The fruit sando is a Japanese sandwich made with two slices of shokupan stuffed with fresh seasonal fruit and whipped cream. Available at every konbini (convenience store) in Japan, you’d think the fruit sando is a recent social media creation but it actually has a history dating back over a hundred years.

There are two stories that trace the origin of the fruit sando to either 1868 Tokyo or 1869 Kyoto. Whoever invented it, it seems that this beautiful and delicious Japanese sandwich was created as a quick and easy way to turn ripe fruit into a shortcake.

Fruit sando

Photo by eyescompany

50. Gua Bao (China)

Gua bao (or cua pao) are hugely popular pork belly buns that originated from Fujian province in China. They’ve become a popular street food in many Asian countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan (Nagasaki).

The gua bao is a type of sandwich made with braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, coriander, and ground peanuts stuffed between two halves of a soft and pillowy Chinese steamed bun (baozi).

In Taiwan, the gua bao is a hugely popular snack that’s sold at many Taiwanese night markets. It’s often referred to as a “Taiwanese hamburger”.

Gua bao

51. Banh Mi (Vietnam)

The banh mi is one of my absolute favorite sandwiches. It’s something I can’t get enough of whenever we’re in Vietnam. An emblematic dish in Vietnamese cuisine, the term “banh mi” can refer to both the Vietnamese sandwich and the French-style mini baguette used to make it.

Like any sandwich, a banh mi can be made with anything but it’s most often made with some type of pork – either pate, sausages, patties, cold cuts, terrine, or floss. The pork is stuffed into hollowed-out French bread with a slew of other ingredients like cucumber slices, fresh coriander, pickled carrots, shredded radish, and herbs.

It almost doesn’t matter what you stuff into a banh mi because what makes this sandwich truly special is the bread. Crusty and crunchy on the outside, it’s soft and pillowy on the inside so it sort of crumbles in on itself when you take a bite. It’s so darn delicious.

52. Vada Pav (India)

The vada pav is one of the most popular Indian street foods in Mumbai. It’s a type of sandwich made with deep-fried mashed potato fritters served in a soft bread roll.

To make vada pav, potatoes are boiled and then mashed with garlic, mustard seeds, green chili peppers, and spices. The mash is then shaped into a ball and dipped in besan flour before being deep-fried and served in a bread roll, usually with fried green chilis and one or more chutneys.

53. Dabeli (India)

Dabeli refers to another type of Indian sandwich. It looks similar to vada pav except it tastes more sweet and tangy rather than savory.

Dabeli is made with a masala spice mixture containing red chili peppers, cumin, coriander seeds, cloves, and cinnamon. The spice mixture is added to a cooked potato mash which is then served in a soft bread roll with grated coconut, sev (fried chickpea noodles), onions, roasted peanuts, coriander, pomegranate seeds, and one or more chutneys.

Dabeli sandwiches

Photo by stockimagefactory.com

54. Bombay Sandwich (India)

Like vada pav, the Bombay sandwich is one of the most popular street foods in Mumbai. It’s a vegetarian sandwich made with a host of vegetables like tomatoes, beetroot, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, boiled potatoes, and mint chutney sandwiched between buttered slices of white bread.

Bombay sandwiches can be made with plain or toasted bread. They’re satisfying either way but charcoal-grilled versions like the one pictured below are the bomb.

Bombay sandwich

55. Kathi Roll (India)

The kathi roll is a type of Indian wrap sandwich that originated in Kolkata. It’s made with kebab meat wrapped in paratha flatbread with vegetables, egg, paneer, and chutney.

Like many sandwiches on this list, kathi rolls were created out of convenience. Commuters didn’t have time to sit down to a proper kebab meal so Nizam’s restaurant in Kolkata came up with the idea of wrapping kebabs in paratha bread. They’re essentially portable versions of traditional kebab dishes that can easily be eaten on the go.

Kathi (or kati) means “stick” in Bengali and refers to the bamboo skewers used to cook the kebabs.

Kathi rolls

Photo by stockimagefactory.com

56. Sabich (Israel)

Many people are familiar with falafel but not as many have heard of its lesser-known cousin the sabich. Both are delicious but personally, I think the latter is better.

Sabich refers to a type of Israeli pocket sandwich. Like falafel sandwiches, it’s made with a pita stuffed to the hilt with a variety of ingredients like fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, vegetable salad, crunchy pickles, amba (pickled mangoes), and hummus tahini.

The sabich is said to be named after Sabich Halabi, a shop owner who first started selling the sandwich in 1961. Similar to the English muffin breakfast sandwich or the kathi roll, it’s basically a portable version of the traditional Jewish Iraqi breakfast served in a pita.

Sabich pita sandwich

Photo by bbivirys

57. Shawarma (Lebanon)

Like hummus, shawarma is one of the most internationally well-known Lebanese dishes. It’s a type of Levantine wrap sandwich that’s closely related to the Turkish doner kebab, Greek gyros, and Mexican tacos al pastor.

Shawarmas are typically made with heavily-marinated chicken, lamb, mutton, or beef grilled on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is shaved off the spit and wrapped in pita bread with fried potatoes, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and tahini-based sauces.

Stack of shawarma sandwiches

Photo by gorkemdemir

58. Balik Ekmek (Turkey)

Balik ekmek literally means “fish bread” and refers to a type of Turkish fish sandwich. Commonly sold as street food along the coastal areas of Istanbul, it’s a simple sandwich made with a grilled mackerel fillet served in a bun with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon.

Balik ekmek sandwich

Photo by FroLove_Misha

AFRICA

59. Falafel (Egypt)

Falafel refers to deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It’s a popular dish that’s consumed throughout the Middle East and beyond though it’s said to have its roots in Egypt.

Falafel is often served as part of larger mezze platters though it’s also common to eat them in pita pocket sandwiches with fresh veggies and tahini sauce. In the Middle East, falafel is made with chickpeas but in Egypt, it’s made with dried and ground fava beans.

Falafel pocket sandwiches

Photo by bhofack2

60. Braaibroodjie (South Africa)

Braaibroodjie means “barbecue bread” in Afrikaans and refers to the South African version of a grilled cheese sandwich. A staple dish at braais (South African barbecue), it’s a wood- or charcoal-grilled sandwich made with cheddar cheese, red onions, tomatoes, and chutney served between two slices of buttered white bread.

Like the Portuguese prego, braaibroodjie sandwiches are customarily served at the end of the barbecue meal.

Braaibroodjie grilled cheese sandwiches

Photo by vanderspuyr

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST SANDWICHES IN THE WORLD

When deciding upon which sandwiches to add to this list, I started writing down all the sandwiches I’ve gotten to try over the years. The first sixty sandwiches that popped into my head are basically what I included on this list. (My apologies for not including any from Oceania as I’m not familiar with any.)

Only after settling on sixty did I organize it by country and continent. After finalizing the list, I was surprised by how many of these sandwiches were invented in America. While it’s true that the time I spent in the US may have influenced my choices, I think there’s more to it than that.

America is a fast-paced country that prioritizes work over quality of life. American workers typically get just ten days of paid vacation time a year compared to their European counterparts who get thirty or more. In Australia, workers are guaranteed twenty days plus eight public holidays.

Americans spend more time at the office and can’t afford to indulge in long lunches. They need fast pre-cooked meals, a demand which helped birth the fast food industry and make quick easy-to-eat meals like sandwiches all the more appealing.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed going through this list of the best sandwiches in the world. I certainly enjoyed writing it and reminiscing about all the delicious sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life.

If you have any personal favorites that aren’t on this list, then please let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it. As they say: “Life is like a sandwich – the more you add to it, the better it becomes.” Cheers!

Cover photo by [email protected] Stock images via Depositphotos.

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