In honor of National Sandwich Month and our undying love for sandwiches, we decided to take a tour of the signature sandwiches from around the world.
Grilled Cheese // America
There’s nothing quite like a good Grilled Cheese sandwich. Sure, there are plenty of American sandwiches to choose from, but the grilled cheese is a classic.
The traditional recipes calls for sliced cheese layered between two slices of white bread smeared with butter on either side. The sandwich is then grilled until the bread is crisp and the cheese is gooey. However, you can find a multitude of variations on this, for example, our 3-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Smørrebrød // Denmark
The translation of smørrebrød is simply “buttered bread,” but there’s more than that to this Scandinavian sandwich. It starts with a very dense and thick slice of rye bread that is slathered with butter, sour cream, or some sort of horseradish schmear. Traditionally, toppings include pickled or smoked fish, liver pate, sliced cold cuts, and boiled eggs, but this open faced sandwich can be topped with whatever your heart desires.
The different texture and flavor combinations are endless and reason enough to try this unconventional sandwich.
Falafel // Egypt
Falafel is made of ground chickpeas, finely chopped onions, fresh herbs, and Middle Eastern spices mixed together then shaped into 1.5 inch balls. These are then deep fried until golden. The falafel balls are stuffed into warm pita and served with different fillings, such as shepherd’s salad (cucumber, tomato, and green peppers) and brightly colored pickles, such as hot pink turnips, green cucumbers, and deep red beets. You may also find a delicious spread of hummus, baba ganoush, white sauce (yogurt or tahini based), or spicy harissa pepper sauce.
Tramezzini // Italy
Tramezzini are iconic Italian finger sandwiches, which are very similar to English tea sandwiches. These small triangular sandwiches are made with crust-less, soft white bread and homemade mayonnaise. You can purchase and enjoy these between breakfast and lunch at many restaurants and bars in Venice, Italy.
Though the filling options are endless, good, homemade mayonnaise and soft, crust-less white bread are essential.
Croque Monsieur // France
The Croque Monsieur contains sliced ham, Dijon mustard and gruyere (or sometimes Swiss) cheese between two thick slices of buttered bread. Next, the sandwich gets fried, like a grilled cheese, and covered with a rich and creamy béchamel sauce. Lastly, the entire sandwich with sauce goes under the broiler until the top is crispy. Top this with a fried or poached egg and you get a Croque Madame.
Cemita // Mexico
The Cemita comes from the Puebla region of Mexico and these sandwiches are typically stuffed with a variety of fried meats, avocado, queso, chipotles and red sauce. So what is the difference between a cemita and a torta? While the recipes are similar and versatile, they differ in their city of origin. Regardless of which one you order, you are sure to enjoy a great blend of flavors and textures.
Cucumber Tea Sandwich // England
Again, there were many sandwich options to choose from, including the chip butty, the Ploughman’s Lunch, and the Christmas Leftover sandwich. However, the English Tea sandwich reigns supreme as the traditional staple of the United Kingdom. And much like the tramezzini, there are endless varieties, but the most classic has to be the cucumber, cream cheese, and white bread tea sandwich.
Gyro // Greece
In Greece, street vendors can be seen shaving meat off of vertical grills and stuffing them into fresh pitas filled with tzatziki, French fries, and fresh vegetables. And there, gyros are more commonly filled with chicken or pork, rather than shaved lamb like we are accustomed to in America.
Choripan // Argentina
If you guessed that choripan is made with grilled chorizo and crusty bread, you are correct. A combination of beef and pork ground together in a sausage-like form is then split down the middle and griddled until crispy. That is then placed on some crusty bread and topped with chimichurri sauce and fresh salsa. Sometimes you may see it served with fried shoestring potatoes.
Arepa // Colombia
This popular Colombian food is eaten daily. Although arepas are often prepared for immediate consumption and the recipe calls for fresh, handmade dough, you can find pre-prepared arepas at grocery stores in the U.S. and South America.
Much like the other sandwiches on this list, and sandwiches in general, filling options are endless. A common and beloved favorite includes a sweet corn arepa stuffed with black beans, plantains, crumbled queso fresco cheese and avocado.
Steamed Buns // China
These Taiwanese mouth-shaped buns are also known as gua bao, and are gaining traction thanks to Chef David Chang of Momofuku. If you haven’t already, you will see more steamed buns dishes being added to different menus.
Typically, a light and fluffy steamed bun is filled with meats, pickles, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts, and hot sauce. But again, there are numerous filling variations, such as BBQ pork belly with pickles to deep fried tofu with crushed peanuts and everything in between.
Medianoche // Cuba
Nearly identical to the Cuban sandwich found here, the Medianoche contains roasted pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles, but on a pressed, sweet, yolky bread similar to challah. The bread is the distinctive factor so be sure to skip the Cuban bread and find the sweet Medianoche bread at most Latin American grocery stores.
Bánh Mì // Vietnam
The bánh mì is made with a Vietnamese baguette (similar to a French baguette) stuffed with some kind of grilled meat (ex. pork belly), pate, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeños, cucumbers, French mayonnaise, Sriracha, fresh cilantro, and fresh mint. Talk about a mouthful of flavor!
Doner Kebab // Turkey
This Turkish delight is served a as street food around Eastern Europe. Similar to a gyro, seasoned meat is skewered onto a spear and them slow roasted on a vertical flame. The meat is then shaved off with an electric razor, and drops down to a griddle to crisp up. The meat, fresh vegetables and a variety of sauces are then stuffed into a warm piece of lavash flat bread and, as the finishing touch, the whole thing is grilled.
Smoked Meat Sandwich // Canada
Imagine a combination of pastrami and corned beef and you can get a general idea of Canada’s smoked meat sandwich.
For the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich, Kosher brisket is brined and corned for over a week, then gets hot-smoked and steamed until it melts in your mouth. The meat is stacked high (around 4-5 inches) between two slices of soft rye seedless bread with a smear of yellow mustard.
Fun Fact: The little bits of meat left after slicing the brisket are saved and used for other delicious Montreal specialties such as poutine.
At the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli, we serve a variety of signature sandwiches made to order. Add one of our craft sodas, a deli salad or chips, and one of our baked goods to round out your meal. Explore our menu online or visit us in store weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays from 8:00am-4:30pm.