Beyond PB&J: 15 Sandwiches From Around the World

Happy Sandwich Day! Named after John Montagu, the fourth earl of Sandwich, who in 1762 spent 24 hours at a gaming table without any other food, the sandwich has become a culinary staple for just about everyone on Earth. Former Traveler researcher and sandwich fancier Christine Wei has compiled this list of 15 global favorites.

yakisoba.jpg1.  Japanese yakisoba sandwich
Craving carbs? Filled with yakisoba, thin noodles fried with Worcestershire-like sauce, the Japanese version of the spaghetti sandwich does double duty in the starch department. Be sure you’re hungry before giving this one a shot.

2.  Swedish smorgastarta
smorgastarta_ost_skinka.jpgA giant cake sandwich? You’d better believe it. Thus named because of its generous amounts of buttery layers and creamy fillings, the smorgastarta is often loaded with pate, smoked salmon, caviar, and cold cuts. It’s presented beautifully too.


Still hungry? Read about 13 additional sandwiches from around the world after the jump.

3.  Finnish porilainen
Thumbnail image for porilainen2.jpgFor those who have always been torn between hot dogs and burgers, the porilainen

gives you the best of both worlds. Like a burger, it has onions and ketchup sandwiched between two pieces of bread, but with a thick slice of sausage as the filling.

4.  English chip butty
chipbutty.jpgWhy bother with a side of fries when you can enjoy those crispy, golden strips right in your sandwich? The chip butty isn’t much else besides fries and bread with a few condiments–so it’s naturally rumored to cure the most atrocious of hangovers. To take it up a notch, try the bacon butty. Photo:

5. Vietnamese banh mi
banhmi.jpgA baguette stuffed to the brim with meat and pickled veggies, the banh mi is fusion food at its best. But be warned: it’s usually sprinkled with cilantro, so don’t be surprised by an herby kick when you take a bite.

6.  Pueblan cemita
new-cemita-graphic2.jpgThis Mexican street food might look like any other burger at first glance, but don’t be fooled: the crusty, fluffy sesame roll packs a surprisingly flavorful punch. Hearty fried beef is sweetened by slices of avocado and marinated onion, then spiced up with cheese and papalo (which is like a citrus-y cilantro). Photo: Matt Armendariz

7.  Taiwanese breakfast sandwich
Taiwanese.jpgLove ham-and-egg pairings?  This triple-layered breakfast sandwich from Taiwan is just for you. Filled with ham or five-spice pork patties and shredded cucumber with mayo, this savory-sweet medley is a local early-morning favorite.

8.  Portuguese francesinha
francesinha2010.jpgThe cheesy tomato and beer sauce-drenched sandwich speaks for itself.  FYI, it’s usually made with ham, sausage, steak, or some sort of roasted meat.

9.  French croque monsieur
CroqueMonsieur.jpgFor the sophisticated eater, manwiches and carb-on-carb concoctions can give way to the daintier croque monsieur, essentially a grilled cheese with a bit of European flair.  Add some egg to the winning ham-and-cheese combination and you’ve got yourself a croque madame.

10.  Maine lobster roll
Though it’s not as exotic as some others on this list, the Maine lobster roll is simply too delicious to leave out.  Generally overstuffed and underpriced, the buttery bun and sweet shredded meat is a winner whenever lobster is in season.

11. Turkish shawarma

swarma.jpgKind of like a gyro, the shawarma is a meat-lover’s must-have. Its thin slices of tender roasted meat, usually in pita or flatbread, taste all the juicier with toppings like creamy hummus or tahini sesame paste.

12. Spanish bocadillo de tortilla de patata
If you’re a fan of breakfast food, you’ll love the bocadillo de tortilla de patata. Popular in a variety of establishments as well as on the streets of Spain, this sandwich is like a hash brown omelet in baguette-style bread.

13. Chinese Peking duck buns
Peking duck was once an imperial dish but is now enjoyed by many. the crispy skin and fatty, tender meat dipped in sweet hoisin sauce, all housed in a fluffy, steamed bun, make for indulgently juicy bites.

14. Pakistani bun kabob
Who says you need meat for a tasty sandwich?  The bun kabob is reminiscent of a falafel, but usually served in a hamburger bun.  With onions, chutney, lentils, and cumin seeds mixed right into the patty, the sandwich is as flavorful as it gets.

15. Australian Vegemite sandwich
No, this isn’t made from termites like a friend once tried to trick me into believing… not that yeast extract sounds much more appealing. Admittedly, Vegemite‘s savory and slightly bitter taste is an acquired one, butI had the chance to try some in third grade and liked it.  With buttered toast, it reminds me of a seaweed paste.



  1. keuken vernieuwen
    July 25, 2012, 1:51 pm

    Damm those sandwiches look really good. getting hungry allready.

  2. GourmetTraveler
    November 15, 2011, 5:59 am

    I love tasty gourmet sandwiches made from fresh organic ingredients and the bread is important. i prefer lightly toasted Dinkel bread. One of the best sandwiches I ever had was made by Chef Craig at Rancho Caldera´s tropical gourmet restaurant Madre Tierra in Panama.

  3. Bugz
    November 4, 2011, 5:10 am

    Sandwiches are very popular in Bombay too! Almost every locality (especially outside schools, colleges and office premises) has a ‘sandwichwalla’ serving up atleast 4 different types of vegetarian fare. Besides ofcourse the famous ‘vada pav’ of Bombay which is like a burger bun layers with hot garlic chutney and stuffed with vada (boiled potatoes, with spices rolled into a ball, dipped in flour paste and deep fried)…..

  4. Gisel
    November 4, 2011, 5:06 am

    I really miss the Danish Smorrebrod! It deserves first place!

  5. Chalo
    November 3, 2011, 2:52 pm

    The Paraguayan “Sandwich de Lomito” or “Chivito” as is called in Uruguay should definitely be on this list too…

  6. Treat and Trick
    July 1, 2011, 2:11 pm

    How about from Malaysia and Singapore? The famous ones is Kaya Toast (sandwich with egg and coconut spread)….

  7. jeff
    February 19, 2011, 3:40 pm

    you must have uset a bad online translator, messing up with the english way of arranging words. The correct form is “Bocadillo de tortilla de patatas”
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  8. Lisa Jacobs
    February 11, 2011, 9:43 am

    I don’t know if you already know it but it Broodje Smos from Belgium is really nice. One of the best sandwiches i had in a while. You can see it here Sim Only

  9. Jeannine
    December 29, 2010, 1:19 pm
  10. Yasin
    December 5, 2010, 6:36 pm

    The best sandwich in the world is a Turkish Döner. Non-Turkish people call it a kebap but it’s name is a Döner. Certainly not a Turkish shawarma. Shawarma is made of pork, only in the european market. Döner (or kebap) is made of beef or veal.
    An other sandwich called a wrap, often found in de MC, BurgerKing,… as a turkish origine. The orginal wrap is called a Dürüm.
    Last thing: white cheese (feta), baklava, sarma, raki, kebap, kadayif, yoghurt (Turkish word, origine)are all original Turkish products. Not greek, arab so please pay attention!

  11. Obbop
    December 1, 2010, 11:53 am

    From the latter 1970s to sometime in the 1980s within many quick-stop-type convenience stores (often a place also selling gasoline via the pumps in front) in the refrigerated section was a sandwich-type named either Longhorn or Wrangler (other names?) made by various firms.
    Longer than wide, with a slab of beef infused with soy protein and slathered with a thick brown gravy-like substance.
    Heated via microwave or in its earlier years by those heat-em-up non-microwave ovens.
    Quite tasty in its own special way I noticed that the product once had a wide distribution across the USA but, apparently, during the 1980s its production ceased.
    Unfathomable to me!!!!! I lust for that special yummy taste the sandwich conveyed. Akin to that school cafeteria meat taste unique to meat with soy filler extender.
    And the thick gravy-like substance added its specialness.
    Why cease the production and distribution of a delectable delight that gave me so many liver quivering gustatory delightful moments over the years?
    Extensive Web searching has not found a SINGLE mention of the sandwich type nor reference via the two names mentioned above.
    No text, no pics… the only Web mention being posts I have made regarding the delight at various locales seeking information from others.
    It is as if that era never existed.
    I miss those sandwiches and my meager, futile, drawing-to-a-close life is empty, with a massive void crying out to be filled by the scrumptious, delightful, delectable gustatory delight available, once, via so many stop-n-rob convenience stores scattered across the USA.

  12. Louis
    December 1, 2010, 11:10 am

    Sorry…forgot the link!
    Hysterical food combos from right here in the U.S.A.

  13. Louis
    December 1, 2010, 11:08 am

    No need to look abroad for food weirdness…this book has some doozies!

  14. Chas
    December 1, 2010, 9:00 am

    Really? No mention of the Philly Cheesesteak?

  15. johnleemedia
    November 30, 2010, 9:58 pm

    like it, like it, but where is El Rey of sandwiches–The Cuban?

  16. Joshua
    November 30, 2010, 1:18 pm

    3,4,5, & 6 are total wins. The rest I am kinda …meh about.

  17. stan
    November 30, 2010, 11:16 am

    Mmmmmmm… seaweed padte. LOL!!!

  18. matthew
    November 30, 2010, 10:46 am

    OMG the vietnamese sandwich is one of my favorite foods of all time. Not only are the fillings delicious together, but its put on a French-style baguette. *drools*
    I know this great place in Houston where they have em for less than 2 dollars a piece!

  19. John
    November 30, 2010, 8:46 am

    A local “delicacy” from the north of England is a pie sandwich, better known as a Wigan Kebab

  20. Nestor
    November 30, 2010, 5:37 am

    Delicious!! Oh but you left so many of them! I’m sure there have to be lots more.
    Only in my country (Spain) there are lots of them, like the Squid Sandwich (bocadillo de calamares) or the one you mentioned on #12. By the way, you must have uset a bad online translator, messing up with the english way of arranging words. The correct form is “Bocadillo de tortilla de patatas”.
    You should also check the Bolivian “Trancapechos” (or in english, the “Choker”)with battered meat, rice, fried potatoes, onion, tomato and spicy peppers. It’s a whole new experience!!

  21. Akrista
    November 30, 2010, 3:57 am

    Wow – love the sandwiches from around the world – all of them. I may have to try my version of each. I especially like the English Chip Butty – two of my favorite things, sandwiches and potatoes. Love the pics, as well – everything looks so delicious.

  22. rodney
    November 26, 2010, 10:25 pm

    i personally liked the breakfast sandwiches from finland and taiwan.

  23. Jennifer
    November 17, 2010, 10:45 pm

    You did not give #9 – the French sandwich Croque Monsieur (and Madame)enough credit. That’s just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
    These delicious and decadent things are deep fried with the gooey cheese on top of the bread. Show it!

  24. RoyalGNZ
    November 9, 2010, 12:10 am

    mmm… delicious!

  25. sandwich Lover
    November 5, 2010, 2:51 am

    For me, Chef Craig at Rancho de Caldera makes the best sandwiches in the world

  26. sports betting
    November 4, 2010, 6:28 am

    I miss the (in)famous Dutch ‘broodje kroket’ If you’re ever in the Netherlands, be sure to try it!