At Bakers Maison we take our sandwiches pretty seriously. Sandwiches are our metaphorical bread and butter, after all. So when we compile a list of sandwiches from all over the world, we do so comprehensively. While many lists across the internet tick the boxes, they often focus on the ‘wiches we know and love while forgetting their lesser-known counterparts.
With this in mind, we have curated the following listicle of between-bread comestibles, scouring the knowledge of our team and the online community of sando lovers to bring it all together.
We start our journey in one of the most sandwich-rich nation’s in the world – the United States. The US has become synonymous with gluttonous, meaty and over the top odes to the breaded meal.
The Muffuletta originated in New Orleans as the vision of Italian immigrants who wanted to fill the sesame seed covered roll of the same name. Layers of deli meats, cheese and antipasto vegetables replace the inner chasm of white bread. Sliced into quarters, this hefty snack is enjoying a resurgence in contemporary cafes.
Philly Cheese Steak
No sandwich list would be worth its filling if it didn’t pay homage to this heavy hitter. Invented in its namesake city, the Philly Cheese Steak is made from strips of beef, capsicum, onions and melted cheese all piled into a soft baguette. It’s incredibly delicious.
Over the Atlantic in Africa we have a lesser-known option that is nonetheless delicious and a worthy addition to this list. The Bean Sandwich is a popular street food in Dakar and other major cities. This inventive eat is a long, soft roll filled with a slow-cooked bean mixture. Perhaps the closest example in Australia would be baked beans on toast, but even that is a long way off. Punters can pick one of these up on most street corners and even garnish them pickles, meats and other extras depending on the vendor.
Cemita and Torta
Just like that we are back in the Americas and enjoying a selection of sandwiches from Mexico. The Cemita and the Torta are hardly rivals, but for the purpose of this article they are mano-e-mano. The two dynamic sandwiches differ depending on the region, however the fundamental difference between them is the round shape and sesame seeds on the Cemita. Avocado, melted white cheese, hot sauce and a meat of your choice adorn the white bread of these two sandwich varieties, both of which have regularly been labelled as the best you’ll ever inhale.
Tracking further south to South America, we head to Uruguay for a more exotic option. The Chivito is a handheld meal to behold. Insatiable churrasco beef is layered with mozzarella, tomatoes, mayonnaise and olives, then garnished with bacon or eggs if you so wish. This over-saddled bread beast bears the same name as the little goats you might see carrying loads up the Uruguayan mountains.
Tracking northeast from South America to western Europe, we are back in the motherland of sandwiches (France) seeking the most appropriate addition to our sandwich search. While there are many renditions of the baguette and a slew of croissant stylings, we have chosen to go with the incomparably edible croque madame. This excruciatingly delicious breakfast sandwich features bechamel, cheese, mustard, leg ham and a fried egg to top it off.
The Doner Kebab, courtesy of the good people of Turkey. While this isn’t a sandwich by the strictest of definitions, it is famous the world over. There are many versions of this delightful wrap, but the premise remains the same – meat and salad in an unleavened bread. Traditionally, the star of this combo is the meat. A slow roasted stack of lamb or beef is shaved away as it cooks before being rolled into the soft, pillowy wrap and handed over the counter to be devoured. It’s little wonder why this snack is loved by drunk people the world over.
Leapfrogging Spain, we hop into Portugal, and you might need a napkin for this one. Portugal takes inspiration from its north-eastern neighbour with the Francesinha, which translates to ‘Little Frenchie’. This monstrosity of a croque-monsieur is swelling with ham, sausage or steak and cheese drowned in a beer and tomato sauce. Often the establishment will differentiate via this sauce, adding a variety of spices or ingredients to make their signature flavour.
On to The Netherlands and the Dutch certainly aren’t afraid of going against the status quo (looking at you, fries and mayonnaise). This entry into the sandwich realm is certainly an interesting one. The Broodje Kroket is a white bun with a croquette inside. “A croquette?!,” you exclaim? A croquette is an oft-meaty roux-based mixture that is crumbed and fried. The deliciously soft and crisp textures work well together, and the sandwich has been known to sport a squirt of mustard.
China is known for many things – but none of which are sandwiches. That said, if you were to find yourself wandering through the Beijing Food Markets of a night time you may come across a stall slinging a tasty treat known as Roujiamo. The name of this street side snack translates to “meat sandwich” and the contents of the oriental ‘wich live up to the name. Pork or beef are shredded and mixed with spicy seasoning, before being crammed into a small white, toasted roll. The Roujiamo is an undeniably delicious sandwich that are nonetheless yet to find themselves on contemporary menus.
Japan is the land of culinary delights, with its rich food culture and history providing some of the most impressive and flavoursome delights known to humankind. This one was a difficult choice to make – Japan has contributed so many great offerings to the world of sandwiches. Even the egg sandwiches from the 7-11 are surprisingly awesome. That said, few countries have brought together such a formidable duo as those united in the Yakisoba pan. A long white roll is stuffed full of yummy fried buckwheat noodles to create this ode to carbohydrates. You’ll find these in most convenience stores waiting to be snatched up.
Every Australian knows the Banh-Mi, they just might not call it that. The Vietnamese Pork Roll has earned itself a cult following around Australia, as hungry locals discovered the highly economical lunch on offer in Vietnamese-run bakeries across our towns and cities. The ingredients vary, but fundamentally there should be pickled carrot, coriander, pate and chili. Commonly, there will be an assortment of curious deli cuts or, if you’re lucky, a portion of crackling covered pork.
The Aussie Sanga
We hotly debated which between-bread meal should be held as Australia’s national sandwich, yet the decision really isn’t ours to make. All we can do at Bakers Maison HQ is present the facts. Vegemite sandwiches aren’t found in many places around the world. But you can bet all the sandwiches in the world that you’ll find them inside an Australian schoolkid’s lunchbox. The Sausage Sizzle certainly isn’t our invention, but snags on a bun are the sure-fire fuel for any DIY activity come Saturday. The prawn roll also gets a well-deserving nod to the sprawling oceans that surround us. It’s all too close to home for us to make a definitive call, but whatever you decide – rest assured we’ll bring the bread!