“Outside the market in Hoi An there’s a lady selling bánh mì from a stall that’s pretty unbeatable. I get mine with everything on it — including a fried egg. That’s the kicker.” — Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and host of No Reservations and The Layover.
“It’s a crunchy French baguette with salted butter, thinly sliced boiled ham, and Jarlsberg cheese. It satisfies the senses—and it doesn’t drip all over you.” — Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and author of Martha’s American Food.
Lady M Cake Boutique, 41 E. 78th St.; 212/452-2222
“This classic has a few twists that make it a pleasant surprise. It’s made with jamón ibérico and with mozzarella instead of Gruyère, and is filled with black truffles.” — Adrian Moore, concierge at Mandarin Oriental, Paris, and food blogger.
“Altogether the best veggie burger in the city. The texture is perfect, the bun is challah-like, and the special sauce is just that—special. I complement this masterpiece with barbecue potato chips. And if this quote ends up on the wall of the restaurant, I will kill everyone at Travel + Leisure.” — Mike Myers, actor.
“Over-ordering at Shima is inevitable, so the legendary Chef Oshima will carve your excess Wagyu, put it in crustless white bread, and present it in a bento box for you to take home. It’s that little extra that makes Japanese hospitality unparalleled.” — Charles Spreckley, founder of BeBespoke Experience Atelier.
Let us pause to consider the sandwich, that magnificent unit of consumption, a construction so minimal that its form may be expressed as: Bread. Not-bread. Bread again. The existence of the sandwich can be seen as a marker of civilization—this is why ham-on-rye is not on the Paleo diet. There can be no sandwich without mono-crop agriculture, mechanisms to grind flour, fuel for ovens, and tools to slice the bread. The rise of the sandwich is inseparable from its convenience, from its ability to be consumed quickly and neatly while doing something else.
Because a sandwich is a blank slate, it can be perfectly evocative of its time and place—the tiny truffled sandwiches eaten at a marble table on an elegant shopping street in Florence after your first visit to the Uffizi; a chip butty in Brighton; or a post-Phillies roast-pork sandwich at Tony Luke's, with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe cooked down almost into jam. In the dance-off between sandwiches and lived experience, it is often the sandwich we remember best.
Check out the slideshow above to find out where to go for some of the world's best sandwiches.