Travel the World
Top 10 Sandwiches Around The World
The concept of wrapping ingredients in bread dates back ages, but it was only in the 18th century that the sandwich as we know it today became a portable dietary staple. And for such an elementary design, the variations are seemingly endless. Here are 10 of the best sandwiches the world has to offer.
Montreal-Style Smoked Meat
Though it’s found on menus in delis across Canada, there’s no question that Montreal-style smoked meat is most popular in its hometown. The meat that goes in the eponymous sandwich is smoked brisket, flavoured with an abundance of peppercorns and spices. It’s added to a distinct rye bread and slathered in yellow mustard. The meat is so popular that delis like Schwartz’s have been known to air freight brisket worldwide to native Montrealers who crave a taste of home. To improve the smoked meat experience, eat the sandwich with a kosher pickle and a can of cherry cola.
Where to try it in Canada: Schwartz’s Deli, Montreal, Quebec
Pork Chop Bun
No other variation evinces the beauty of the sandwich’s simple form than Macau’s pork chop bun. It is quite what it sounds like: a pork chop in a bun, and it is a popular snack that can be bought at little restaurants and street stalls across the island of Macau. But its simplicity belies the flavour and texture that make this sandwich so good. The right bun has a crackling crust and a warm, cloud-like interior. Coupled with a juicy, dripping, perfectly seasoned pork chop, it’s a recipe for the simplest of the simple foods.
Where to try it in Canada: Cafe Gloucester, Vancouver
In contrast to the austere simplicity of Macau’s pork chop bun, the Vietnamese-created banh mi takes a kit-and-caboodle approach by throwing every ingredient on hand into a baguette and dousing them in condiments. The nucleus of the sandwich comes in the form of various types of meat. Varieties of pork are most commonly used, but chicken, tofu and sardines are also popular. Cilantro, pickled and fresh vegetables, chili sauces, mayonnaise and cheese round out the cornucopia of ingredients. It’s the type of sandwich that doesn’t necessitate a side of soup to fill you up.
Where to try it in Canada: Banh Mi Boys, Toronto, Ontario
America is one sandwich happy country, with sandwiches from across the country closely tied to specific regions: the Louisiana po’ boy, the Los Angeles french dip, the ironically Floridian cuban. One stands out as the most famous, however: the Philly cheesesteak. The original version of the cheesesteak’s three main ingredients – cheese, beef and bread – make for a combination that is guaranteed to fill you up. Sauteed onions and bell peppers are often added in order to take a more leisurely route to a coronary.
Where to try it in Canada: Taste of Philly Cheesesteak, Kitchener, Ontario
Despite its origins in the Northeastern United States, the lobster roll is right at home in Canadian stomachs. This is largely due to the fact that Canadian Maritime lobsters are renowned as the tastiest in the world. A fresh-caught lobster from the Canada’s left coast is steamed, deshelled and doused in butter, mixed with mayonnaise and scallions, then put in a roll. It’s so popular out east that even McDonald’s brings it out as a seasonal menu item. It’s best to get it at a lobster shack close to the shore, but if a McLobster Roll (or McHomard in New Brunswick) will do in a pinch.
Where to try it in Canada: Richard’s Fresh Seafood, Stanhope, PEI
The croque monsieur is essentially a ham-and-cheese sandwich with a twist. Instead of having the cheese on the inside, a ham sandwich is grilled and then slices of cheese (either emmental or gruyere) are melted atop the toasted bread. Variations on this French creation abound. A croque madame has a fried egg on top, a croque señor uses tomato salsa and a croque Hawaiian adds a pineapple. Unsurprisingly, French Canada has taken a shine to the croque monsieur, with a number of restaurants featuring this quintessential brunch dish for Canada’s most brunch-loving population.
Where to try it in Canada: L’Express, Montreal, Quebec
Since this Bosnian dish of spiced minced meat sausages (the eponymous cevapi), onions, sour cream and ajvar (a roasted pepper relish) is served in pocketed flatbread, it skews pretty close to non-sandwich territory. But it’s so delicious that it counts. Cevapi ‘s a dish that’s popular across the Balkans, and is the national dish of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it is often said to have originated. In Bosnia, one can find cevapi all over the place, where it is consumed as a large snack at cafes.
Where to try it in Canada: Skela Bosnian Deli, Ottawa, Ontario
Vegetarians rejoice. Sandwiches have long been co-opted by carnivores, and it’s rare to find an example that will satisfy the veggies. After all, most of the substance in sandwiches comes from the meat filling. Vada pav, though, a popular street food throughout India that originated in the Indian state of Maharashtra, is filling and delicious in equal measure. The bread is a soft bun, while the “meat” of the sandwich, as it were, is a deep-fried potato patty, flavoured with spices like turmeric, mustard, chili and ginger. Eat one with a bit of chutney on the side, and you’ll have an idea why these humble sandwiches are rabidly consumed across the subcontinent.
Where to try it in Canada: Bombay Chowpatty, Toronto, Ontario
Bake and Shark
Trinidad and Tobago is a country that loves its condiments. Chutneys and pickles and sauces are widely found in T&T and made from of a variety of ingredients, from mango to carrots to melons. And if there’s one thing a sandwich needs, it’s condiments. Bake and shark (the bake refers to the fried type of bread) is great not because the shark meat is surprisingly appetizing, but because of the huge variety of flavour one can add with mango pickles, garlic sauces and chutneys. It has its origins in Maracas Beach and is still best enjoyed under swaying palms next to a sandy shore.
Where to try it in Canada: Annual Caribana Festival, Toronto, Ontario
Hot Chicken Sandwich
There’s a vaguely guilty feeling about enjoying a hot chicken sandwich. This Quebecois staple features shredded chicken breast between two slices of bread, which is innocuous enough. But then the bread is drowned in gravy, and the whole shebang is eaten with boiled peas and french fries. It’s very popular in its home province, where it is featured on the menus of Quebec fast food chains like Lafleur and St. Hubert. Guilty pleasure though it may be, it adds to the body of evidence long for the long-held Quebecois argument that gravy makes most meals better.
Where to try it in Canada: Rôtisserie Le Chalet Bar-B-Q, Montreal, Quebec