Nothing satisfies midday hunger quite like a sandwich. Protein (or veggies) pressed between two pieces of bread and slathered in tasty condiments is popular in cuisines spanning the globe. Portable and tasty, sandwiches are reliable as quick, savory sustenance on the go. While tortas and banh mi are practically mainstream, here are seven other tasty sandwiches from around the world you should try.
Rou Jia Mo, China
Bye-bye bao, hello rou jia mo. Hailing from Shaanxi province, this pocket sandwich features a flaky, lightly fermented bread folded around tender shreds of pork belly that were simmered in soy sauce, ginger, and spices. Once a regional specialty, rou jia mo (meat with bread) is frequently referred to as a “Chinese hamburger.”
La Mitraillette, Belgium
A beef and cheese sandwich piled with French fries seems destined to have come from the United States, but la mitraillette, which translates to “submachine gun,” is 100% Belgian — although Brussels and Wallonia insist on fighting over who claims the honor. A long baguette is stuffed with protein such as thinly sliced beef, meatballs, or shawarma meat. The meaty sandwich might also feature cheese, lettuce, or caramelized onions. The whole shebang is then covered in crispy, salty frites and dolloped with mayonnaise (which is sometimes spiked with chili sauce).
Sandwich amateurs might mistake this for a cubano since the two both feature thinly sliced ham and roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. However, the medianoche, which means “midnight” (named for its popularity as a late-night snack), substitutes a baguette for an eggy, almost brioche-like bun that perfectly complements the porky sweetness of the meats when pressed and grilled. Mmm!
Vada Pav, India
Vegetarians will swoon for vada pav, but carnivores will also crave this slider-sized street snack that originated in Maharashtra and can be found on almost every corner of Mumbai. Spicy potato fritters are rolled lightly in chickpea flour, deep fried, then tucked into small buns. The chutneys make the sandwich and many enthusiasts insist that you must have vada pav with all three: tamarind, coriander and mint, and dry garlic.
Zapiekanka is harder to spell than pierogi, but it is just as popular as a street snack in Poland. Dubbed the “Polish pizza,” it’s basically half a baguette topped with mushrooms, onions, and cheese that’s broiled. Drizzle it with ketchup and enjoy! Like pizza, there are now numerous variations of zapiekanka including a Hawaiian version with pineapple. Go ahead. We won’t judge!
Forget about indulging on tortas when you visit Mexico. Try a cemita instead! Hailing from Puebla and named for its sesame seed-studded, brioche-like bun, the cemita deserves its spot in the sandwich hall of fame. A thinly pounded and deep fried milanesa (cutlet) of beef, chicken, or pork paired with fresh avocado, pickled jalapenos, shredded Oaxacan cheese, and papalo (similar to cilantro) round out this sammy. Drizzle it with a little olive oil and throw on a few onions while you’re at it.
Heat up some oil and fry a yeasted roll. Then, pack it with your choice of tuna, boiled eggs, olives, harissa, lemon, capers, boiled potatoes, and hummus. Voila, you’ve made fricassee — Tunisia’s fast food and sandwich shop staple. This savory sandwich is one to write home about.