There’s a whole wide world of amazing sandwiches out there; some are American regional specialties and others are beloved in countries that you most likely haven’t visited. But just a warning: once you know about them (and especially once you eat them), your life very well might never be the same. Read on to learn about 12 amazing sandwiches.
Image Credit: Flickr/Stu Spivack
This popular Brazilian sandwich starts with a scooped-out French bun, into which is deposited an ungodly amount of melted cheese, usually mozzarella. It’s topped off with a few slices of roast beef (or occasionally ham), tomato, and cucumber pickles. It’s a cheese-lover’s dream.
Image Credit: Arthur Bovino
Beef on Weck
A roast beef sandwich that dreams are made of, French dip lovers will love beef on weck. A hallmark sandwich of the Buffalo, New York area, beef on weck starts with rare, thinly sliced roast beef, tucked into a roll called a kummelweck, which has been dusted with coarse salt and caraway seeds. The top bun gets a dip in beef jus, and the only condiment is a hefty spoonful of horseradish.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Nick Gray
The cemita is a torta (Mexican sandwich) from Puebla. It is traditionally served on a brioche-like egg-dough roll covered in sesame seeds and includes meat of various kinds (milanesa, beef that's pounded, breaded, and fried, is typical), panela or some other mild white cheese, avocado, onions, leaves of the soapy-tasting herb pápalo, and red chile sauce. There are numerous variations, but it's always a delicious mouthful.
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One of the Uruguayan national dishes, a chivito starts with filet mignon, which is topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, mayo, olives, bacon, ham, and eggs, and occasionally other add-ons like beets, fried red peppers, sliced cucumber, or peas. It’s served on a crusty bun, and there are a wide variety of variations, including the "Canadian chivito" (chivito Canadiense), made with Canadian bacon.
Image Credit: Matt Reubens
A native dish of Trinidad and Tobago, this super-popular vegetarian street food starts with two bara (flat fried bread) and is topped with chana, or curried chickpeas. It can then be finished off with mango, coconut, cucumber, tamarind, culantro (an herb related to cilantro), and hot sauce.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Edmund Gall
Originating in the Portuguese city of Porto, the Francesinha (which translates to “Frenchie”) is a wonder to behold. Between two slices of bread you’ll find ham, two types of sausage (fresh and cured, usually linguica and chipolata), and steak or roast meat. The whole mess is covered in melted cheese and a hot, thick, beer-based sauce. Each restaurant has its own special version (and the sauce, which usually also contains tomato, tends to be a well-protected house secret), and just about every resident of Porto has his or her own personal favorite.
Image Credit: Flickr/Felipe Fortes
Popular in and around St. Louis, the Gerber is an open-faced sandwich made with a loaf of Italian or French bread that’s topped with garlic butter, ham, provel or provolone cheese, and paprika, then toasted. The cheese and garlic butter melt, the whole thing gets brown and bubbly, and it’s simple and delicious.
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When we recently asked Jeff Mauro, Chicago native, sandwich-lover, and co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen, what sandwich he thought didn’t get enough love, he was quick to answer: the jibarito. Invented in Chicago in 1996 by a Puerto Rican chef, the sandwich is best known for replacing the bread with fried green plantains. Fillings typically include steak, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aïoli. Steak is the most popular meat, but pork and chicken aren’t uncommon.
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A staple street food in Florence, this sandwich is a tripe-lover’s dream. It starts with the fourth stomach of the cow (the abomasum), which is slow-cooked with tomato, onion, parsley, and celery until it has the texture of tender roast beef. It’s then tucked into a crusty bun that’s been dipped in the broth and topped with a green parsley sauce and hot sauce. Outdoor stands selling the sandwich can be found (and smelled) all across Florence, and it’s something that you should dewfinitely try, regardless of how you feel about tripe.
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It may not look pretty, but the mitraillette is one of Belgium’s most popular sandwiches, served at most Belgian friteries (fry shops). It starts with a small baguette, which is topped with fried meat (including steak, burger, or sausage), fries, and any of a range of sauces including ketchup, mayo, garlic sauce, or béarnaise. The Belgians love their fries, and this is a delicious and gut-busting way to eat them. Funnily enough, in certain regions the sandwich is known as an “Américain.”
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Another popular Mexican sandwich (especially in Mexico City), the pambazo starts with a firm, slightly dry round roll that gets a lengthy dunk in a warm red guajillo pepper sauce. Because the bread is dry, it soaks up the sauce and retains its shape. Then it’s sliced in half and filled with either potatoes and ground chorizo or longaniza sausage and refried beans. It’s topped off with shredded lettuce, salsa, crema, and fresh white cheese. Needless to say, it’s insanely delicious.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Paul Bailey
Cleveland is home to one of the most insanely sloppy and delicious sandwiches in existence, called the Polish Boy. It starts innocently enough, with a kielbasa sausage (either grilled or deep fried) on a bun, but then it’s topped with French fries, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce. This is one serious sandwich; keep your Tums at the ready.
Image Credit: Flickr/ Stu Spivack
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The sandwich is a universal food, and its possibilities are limitless. As long as it's between two pieces of bread (or, as you'll see, between two fried plantains), you can call it a sandwich and nobody will argue. Across the globe, people eat some stuff that other cultures consider to be pretty out there, but once it's turned into a sandwich it becomes a little bit easier to understand; a little easier to sympathize with. In many ways, the sandwich is the great equalizer. There's strife, war, poverty, and injustice, but at least we can all agree that sandwiches are awesome.
In our everyday existence, we encounter only a small fraction of the universal sandwich spectrum. There are the ones that we all know: peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, tuna salad, whatever they're serving at Panera. Then there are the regional sandwiches, like spiedies in Binghamton, New York, which are cubes of marinated and grilled meat on a soft Italian roll. They're common in one specific place, but not really outside of that.
We'll be the first to admit that there are some sandwiches that you've never heard of because they're just not that good. In Britain, for example, there's actually something called a toast sandwich, which is just buttered toast between two slices of bread. Thankfully, the Dadaists didn't invent any more sandwiches after that.
There's a whole wide world of amazing sandwiches out there; some are American regional specialties and others are beloved in countries that you most likely haven't visited. But just a warning: once you know about them (and especially once you eat them), your life very well might never be the same. Read on to learn about 12 amazing sandwiches.
Check out the slideshow above to discover 12 life-changing sandwiches.