10 Must-Try Sandwiches around the World

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the sandwich. As simple – or as decadent – as you make it, this portable powerhouse of a food has had a long history. Our current idea of the sandwich was popularized in England back in the 1700s. John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, had a love for playing cards. During a particularly long stretch at the table, he requested the chef to concoct him something he could eat at his seat without dirtying his cards. The chef presented him with a steak between bread, and the sandwich was born! This creation proved so popular in England, it would take on the Earl’s name.  

While there might be some debate on what constitutes a sandwich, we can all agree on one thing – they’re delicious! Here are some of the tastiest sandwiches you can find around the globe.  

Bahn Mi – Vietnam 

Slices of bahn mi sandwich on a board
Photo by Anna Sullivan on Unsplash 

Traditional Bahn Mi consist of french baguette, filled with cold cuts, pate, pickled veggies, cilantro, and mayo. At most vendors, you can find different kinds of meat such as lemongrass chicken, barbeque pork, and for the veggies out there, tofu!  

Doner Kebab – Turkey 

Doner Kebab on wooden table
By Alex Kehr from Malibu, United States – Donner Kebab, Cologne, Germany, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33573865 

The doner kebab was born in Turkey but is beloved throughout Europe. This flatbread (generally pide) is filled with grilled meat, veggies such as lettuce and tomato, and THE white sauce. If you know, you know! (You may be familiar with its close cousins, the Gyro, or Shwarma) 

Katsu Sando – Japan 

Katsu sando sandwich in container - 3 pieces of white bread, plus a pork cutlet and cabbage

You can get many varieties of “sando” in Japan – all served on fluffy white bread – but this version comes with deep-fried, panko-crusted pork cutlets. Looking for a super quick bite? Head to a local 7-11 or FamilyMart – these convenience stores sell high-quality meals, much different from what you’d expect from their U.S equivalent!  

Vegemite – Australia  

Vegemite spread on two pieces of toast
By Tristanb – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vegemiteontoast_large.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58703676 

We’ll be honest, those unfamiliar with vegemite will NOT be smiling and asking for a Vegemite sandwich when they first try the spread, but that’s because they’re most likely using it wrong! This thick brown paste is made with yeast extract and is known for its very strong, salty, umami taste. When making your sandwich, don’t glop it on like peanut butter. Toast your bread, liberally spread some butter on, and then add a very light layer of vegemite. Yum!  

Croque Monsieur – France  

Croque Monsieur sandwich - ham and cheese on bread with cheese melted on top
Michael Brewer / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5) 

The Croque Monsieur was first spotted in Paris around 1910, and its ham and cheese goodness has been dear to our hearts ever since. Often using Gruyere or Emmental cheese, the sandwich rises to another plain after being topped with bechamel, more cheese, and then melted under a broiler. You can make its sister, the Croque Madame, by topping with an egg. (Perfect for brunch!)  

Smorrebrod – Denmark 

collection of smorrebrod sandwiches, including roast beef on rye, meatballs on rye and herring on rye

You can find almost anything on smorrebrod, but there will generally be fillings on top of small squares of Rye bread. A local favorite is pickled herring. A trademark of Denmark, these sandwiches are not just tasty, but often beautiful.  

Leberkase – Germany  

Leberkase on a roll with mustard
By cyclonebill – Fleischkäse, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8815021

A seemingly simple sandwich, leberkase consists of a roll, mustard, and meat – and the meat is where this one stands out. Approximately a meatloaf, the ingredients of ground pork and corned beef, onions, and seasonings are baked and sliced. While Leberkase roughly translates to “Liver Cheese”, not all of them contain liver!  

Francesinha – Portugal

francesinha sandwich topped with an egg

Most common in Porto, this sandwich has your usual toasted bread, meats, and cheeses, but is doused in a rich, tomato-based sauce. This is one sandwich that you can’t take and walk with – this is fully a sitdown meal! Some believe that the francesinha is based off France’s Croque Monsieur.

Panino – Italy  

panini sandwich and pickle on plate

You’ve probably had a panino before. It’s the singular form of the word panini! Most anything can be found within a panino, but it’s known specifically for its final step of being pressed on a grill.  

Choripan – Argentina  

Choripan sandwich - chorizo split down middle and places on roll, topped with chimichurri
By David – Choripan, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10718481 

You’ll find variations of this throughout Latin America, but it’s most popular in Argentina. Chorizo (spicy sausage links) is split down the center and grilled, placed in a roll, and topped with chimichurri. Many will say this is basically a hot dog which raises the philosophical question – is a hot dog a sandwich?  

Is your favorite sandwich not on the list? Let us know who should be included and why at ourstories@worldstrides.com. Craving more food selections of the world? Indulge in 8 Kinds of Ice Cream around the World

Article written by Nikki Fabrizio

Nikki Fabrizio
Nikki creates content and enjoys highlighting the exuberance of experiential learning. In her free time you can find her traveling, hiking and practicing circus arts.