guide to sandwiches around the worldIn the U.S., sandwiches are as ubiquitous as they are delicious. But it turns out that sandwiches, in all of their various, glorious forms, are popular all over the world. From Danish smørrebrød to China’s rou jia mo, there’s a lifetime’s worth of sandwiches out there just waiting for you to take a bite.


North America

Submarine sandwiches
Named after the appearance of the elongated bread roll upon which it is served, the submarine sandwich, or sub, is thought to have originated with Dominic Conti, an Italian immigrant living in New Jersey. His store, Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store, began operations around 1910. There, it sold sub sandwiches consisting of cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, oil and vinegar, served on a long split roll.

  • Hero
    Heros, allegedly named in the 1930s by New York Herald Tribune food writer Clementine Paddleford, are hot subs with Italian flavors. Common examples include chicken Parmesan, meatball, and eggplant Parmesan sandwiches.
  • Hoagie
    The hoagie originated in Philadelphia, though the exact birth of the sandwich has been tied to everything from Italian shipyard workers on Hog Island to street vendors known as “hokey-pokey men.” The contents of a hoagie can vary, though most include meat, cheese, and lettuce, while some claim that authentic hoagies must contain antipasto salad.
  • Grinder
    New Englanders often call subs grinders, and they usually contain the same sort of ingredients as any regular sub. In Pennsylvania and Delaware, a grinder is a sub that’s been heated.

Named for the comic book character Dagwood Bumstead, who was known for making comically oversized sandwiches, a dagwood is usually a tall stacked sandwich. Its layers are comprised of a variety of cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, pickled peppers, and condiments. Sometimes, additional slices of bread are included within the sandwich. Dagwoods are often crowned by an olive-topped toothpick or skewer which helps to keep the sandwich together.

Po’ Boy
Served on New Orleans-style French bread, the Po’ Boy is a Louisiana sandwich that is filled with meat. The meat can included fried seafood, like shrimp and oysters, or sliced meats, like roast beef, chicken, or ham. Po’ Boys can come “dressed” with lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and mayo, while seafood versions are often dressed with butter and pickles. Roast beef Po’ Boys are usually served with gravy.

Breakfast sandwich
The breakfast sandwich, which originated in 19th century London, consists at its most basic of eggs, cheese, and cured meat such as bacon, sausage, or ham, served up on bread. The bread can be anything from simple white toast to a croissant, bagel, or English muffin. These days, breakfast sandwiches in the US enjoy huge popularity, and experimentation with the form is rampant.

Club sandwich
A triple-decker sandwich which has been appearing on US restaurant menus since 1899, the Club sandwich consists of three slices of bread, filled with sliced chicken or turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.

Known as a toastie in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, melts are a simple but satisfying sandwich. Cheese and meat, including things like tuna salad, hamburger patties, and sliced deli meat, are placed between two slices of bread, which is then grilled until the cheese has melted. Take away the meat, and you have a simple grilled cheese sandwich.

The Cuban sandwich was invented by cafés frequented by Cuban immigrants living in the Florida Keys and Tampa in the late 1800s. Still popular today, the sandwich contains ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, is served between Cuban bread, and pressed on a plancha. In Tampa, the sandwich also includes salami.

Inspired by sandwiches in Puerto Rico, the jibarito was invented in Chicago by Juan “Peter” Figueroa in 1996. The sandwich uses fried green plantains instead of bread, and usually contains steak, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and garlic mayo.

Canadian (Montreal) smoked meat
Made from whole brisket that’s been cured, covered with a spice rub, then smoked and steamed, Montreal smoked meat is an iconic sandwich. It’s served sliced thinly to order and served on light rye bread with mustard. Though Montreal smoked meat is similar to pastrami, it’s cured with less sugar and more savory spices like black pepper and garlic.


Central America

Mexican cemitas
Originating in the Mexican city of Puebla, cemitas are sandwiches served on sesame-topped cemita rolls. They are traditionally filled with a fried meat cutlet, avocado, panela or stringy asadero cheese, salsa and pápalo, an herb similar to cilantro.

Mexican torta
A Mexican torta is a sandwich served on a crusty white bread roll. They can be eaten hot or cold, and are sometimes pressed on a grill. Fillings include everything from scrambled eggs to fried meat cutlets. Tortas are a popular on-the-go meal and are often sold at sporting events.


South America

Venezuelan arepas
Though arepas are common in Colombia and Venezuela, in the latter it is more usually split and used to make a sandwich. Arepas are unleavened bread rolls made from maize dough or, sometimes, wheat flour. A filled arepa is called an arepa rellena, and fillings can include anything from a combination of avocado, chicken, and mayonnaise to school shark.

Chilean Chacarero
A popular Chilean fast-food, chacarero includes thinly sliced steak or pork, tomatoes, green beans and chilies all served on a round bread roll.



Vietnamese Bánh mì
Created during a period of French rule, the bánh mì combines traditional Vietnamese ingredients, like pickled daikon and carrot, cilantro and cucumber, with ingredients introduced by the French, like pate, baguettes, and mayonnaise. The Vietnamese baguettes that are used to make bánh mì are softer and fluffier than French baguettes, as they contain rice flour in addition to wheat flour. These days, bánh mì can contain any variety of fillings, including sausage, pork belly, meatballs, eggs, duck, tofu, and more.

Indian vada pav
Vada pav is a popular Indian vegetarian street food, consisting of a spiced, deep-fried potato patty served on a bun. It is often accompanied with chutney.

Japanese Katsu sando
Katsu sando is a Japanese sandwich of tonkatsu, a deep-fried pork cutlet, served on lightly toasted white bread with the crusts cut off. Sometimes, tonkatsu sauce and lettuce are included.

Chinese Rou jia mo
Spicy stewed pork (or sometimes, beef or lamb) is stuffed into a flatbread called mo to create this simple sandwich. The meat is heavily seasoned with up to 20 spices, though the exact spices vary from region to region.



English tea sandwich
Also known as finger sandwiches, tea sandwiches are simply prepared snacks meant to accompany tea. They usually are made on crustless, buttered white bread, and are filled with small portions of vegetables, like watercress or cucumber, spreads like butter, mayonnaise or cream cheese, or meat salads including chicken, egg, and ham, among other things.

English Butty
The chip butty is a sandwich that is filled with French fries. “Butty” is derived from bread and butter, as the sandwich is usually made with buttered white bread or bread rolls, and it is sometimes accompanied by ketchup or brown sauce. Variations include the bacon butty and the scallop butty.

Greek gyro
Gyro sandwiches are made with meat (beef, lamb, pork, mutton or chicken) cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. They’re often served on pita bread. The gyro meat is heavily spiced, with garlic, pepper, and sometimes cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, etc.

Italian panini
Panini are grilled sandwiches, usually made on ciabatta or michetta bread rolls cut in half, that are pressed while cooking. This warms the sandwiches through, helping any cheese melt, while also making the bread crispy on the outside. Common fillings are cured Italian meats, such as salami, prosciutto and mortadella, and cheese.

Danish smørrebrød
Originally meaning “buttered bread,” buttered rye bread is indeed the typical base of these Danish open-faced sandwiches. Common toppings range from cold cuts and seafood to cheese and various spreads. Pickled herring, smoked salmon, and liver pate are all traditional toppings. Much attention is paid to making the sandwiches visually appealing.

Polish zapiekanka
A popular street food, Polish zapiekanka is a toasted, open-faced sandwich of mushrooms and cheese on a baguette half, and is usually served with hot ketchup. The sandwich was born during the heyday of Polish communism, but is now more popular than ever.

Spanish bocadillo
Bocadillo is a sandwich made on a split, long Spanish bread roll. It’s popular in cafes and bars. Fillings vary from region to region, but some popular ones include omelet, Jamón, tomato and olive oil, sausage and seafood. Sometimes it includes cheese or sauces, including ketchup, tomato sauce, aioli or mayo.


Middle Eastern

Turkish doner kebab
A doner kebab sandwich is filled with thinly sliced meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Lamb is most common, though beef and chicken are popular, too. Accompaniments include tomato, onion, sumac, and pickled cucumbers and chilies. They’re also sometimes topped with a garlicky white sauce.

Similar to Turkish doner kebab and Greek gyro, shawarma is meat (lamb, chicken, beef, or a combination of meats) roasted on a vertical spit and shaved, then served on a sandwich or wrap. Flatbread like pita or taboon bread is often used.

Israeli sabich
An Israeli sabich is a pita bread sandwich stuffed with fried eggplant and hard boiled eggs. It’s often served at breakfast, and sometimes includes hummus, salad, boiled potatoes and herbs.



South African gatsby
This South African sandwich is best known for its inclusion of French fries in the sandwich itself. Gatsbys are served on long rolls and cut into four pieces, and are intended to be shared by as many people (though quarter and half Gatsbys can be ordered as well). Common fillings include the ubiquitous French fry, eggs, and meats like steak, chicken, calamari, fish and sausage.



Australian Vegemite sandwich
Vegemite, an extremely popular Australian paste made from brewers’ yeast, vegetables and spice, is spread over buttered bread and topped with cheese to create this iconic sandwich. Lettuce, tomato and avocado are sometimes included.