The World's Most Amazing Sandwiches


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Максим Крысанов/istockphoto

The International Sandwich Scene

There are so many variations of amazing sandwiches just here in the U.S. — fried chicken, roast beef, grilled cheese, a classic sub, and so on — that even contemplating what the rest of the world has on the menu can feel overwhelming. But contemplate it you should, because there are some stellar sandwich offerings across the world. From open-faced Scandinavian works of art to Asian versions that tick off most of the food groups and then some, here are 25 sandwiches that you might not be able to pronounce, but you'll definitely want to eat.

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Katsu Sando

Katsu Sando | Japan

Katsu means "cutlet" — in this case, pork breaded with panko and fried — and "sando" means exactly what you think it does: sandwich. Add a dose of barbecue-sauce-like Tonkatsu and shredded cabbage, and sandwich the whole thing between soft, crustless Japanese milk bread and you've got what Bon Appetit describes as "dish that looks as harmless and dainty as a tea sandwich but delivers all the intense meaty joy of a French dip."

Recipe: Chopstick Chronicles

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Panino di Lampredotto

Panino di Lampredotto | Italy

If the words "cow stomach" don't scare you off, you'll be in for a treat with a bite of this Tuscan sandwich that can be bought from street vendors on the cobblestones of Florence. Tender slices of tripe — aka beef belly — and salsa verde are sandwiched between a soft roll with a spicier sauce sometimes added. For a truly tasty lampredotto experience, make sure to dip your sandwich in the broth the tripe was cooked in.


Recipe: Emiko Davies 

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Braaibroodjie | South Africa

The South African version of the classic grilled cheese, braaibroodjie translates to "barbecue bread" in Afrikaans. The sandwich has many variations, but the one below adds a sweet flavor profile with mango chutney and caramelized onions. For a more authentic experience, throw these on the outdoor grill.


Recipe: African Bites

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Swedish Prawn Sandwich

Swedish Prawn Sandwich | Sweden

Made with hard-boiled eggs, prawns, dill, cucumber, lettuce leaves, lemon, and mayonnaise — all placed artfully on rye bread — this open-faced sandwich that's also known as Räksmörgås in Sweden is as beautiful as it is good for you. Some recipes, like the one below, use other fresh ingredients to add another pop of color and flavor.


Recipe: Dish 'n' the Kitchen

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The Bacon Butty

The Bacon Butty | United Kingdom

There's nothing fancy about this British sandwich — it's a soft roll cut in half, buttered and grilled, then stuffed with bacon and brown sauce (or some variation thereof, like A1 steak sauce or Worcestershire). Bacon, carbs, and butter — why muck that up with anything else?


Recipe: Food.

Related: 26 Amazing Bacon Dishes Across America

Doner Kebab

Doner Kebab | Turkey/Germany

Get a taste of Turkey with this sandwich that's actually more popular on the streets of Germany. It's typically made with meat cooked on a spit and seasoned with paprika, cumin, and other spices, then shoved between warm pita bread and served with a plethora of veggies and slathered in a yogurt sauce. Though not yet super-trendy in the U.S., expect to see the doner kebab showing up in more and more cities soon.


Recipe: Recipe Tin Eats 

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Banh Mi

Banh Mi | Vietnam

This Vietnamese-French sandwich — it was invented when Vietnam was part of French Indochina — has become a trendy menu item in restaurants across the U.S. and for good reason. With its ingredients of pork (or sometimes chicken), cilantro, cucumber, and pickled carrots and daikon slathered in condiments that often include pate, chili, and mayonnaise, it has been called by "one of the most vibrant and delicious sandwiches in the world" by the recipe developer featured here.


Recipe: A Spicy Perspective

Related: 40 Delicious Breakfasts From  Around the World

Croque Monsieur
Grilled Halloumi Sandwich

Grilled Halloumi Sandwich | Greece

Named for one of its ingredients — the firm, "squeaky" and grillable halloumi cheese, usually made from goat or sheep milk, or both — this Greek sandwich is often customized with different toppings such as onion, tomato, oregano, olives, and more. The version below keeps it simple with tomato slices, olive oil, and balsamic glaze (or sub in pesto if you prefer).


Recipe: I Heart Vegetables

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Pickled Herring Smørrebrød

Pickled Herring Smørrebrød | Denmark

Like the Swedish Räksmörgås, this open-faced sandwich from the Danes is served on rye bread and is almost too pretty to eat. It's almost always made with pickled herring and can be customized in many ways. The recipe below adds punches of color with beets and lots of green veggies, plus flavor depth with eggs, sour cream, and Dijon mustard.


Recipe: Lavender and Macarons

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Chicken Shawarma
Ihor Smishko/istockphoto

Chicken Shawarma | Middle East

This Middle Eastern wrap utilizes tender bits of meat, marinated in yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs. Many cooks remark that the chicken alone is mega-tasty, but sandwich it in a pillowy grilled pita with yogurt or tahini sauce and fresh, crisp veggies? Heaven.


Recipe: Budget Bytes

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Toast Hawaii
Toast Hawaii by Rainer_Zenz (CC BY-SA)

Toast Hawaii | Germany

The name says Hawaii, but this open-faced simple sandwich was invented in Germany in the mid-20th century by a TV cook, and resurrected into popular culture recently by the German Netflix sci-fi thriller series "Dark." It economically employs just white bread, butter, ham, pineapple, maraschino cherries, and cheese slices. Some call it "a forerunner of the dreaded Hawaiian pizza," while others love its nostalgia and flavors.


Recipe: Cuisine Helvetica

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pesto sandwich

Indian Green Chutney Sandwich | India

Food blog Picture the Recipe calls this Indian staple "the quick finger sandwich you slap together and offer to unannounced guests along with a piping hot cup of chai." You kinda want one now, right? Same. The chutney in this recipe is made with vibrantly green cilantro and mint, plus other ingredients like ginger, Thai chili, coconut, and more. Slather that on soft white bread stuffed with lots of crisp veggies, then grill and enjoy.


Recipe: Tarladalal

Related: The 17 Spiciest Foods Around the World


Zapiekanka | Poland

The zapiekanka is a popular Polish street food made with a baguette, sautéed shrooms, cheese, ketchup, and often customized with another simple ingredient or two like onions or scallions. The whole thing is toasted until the cheese melts, and yes, it's often compared to pizza, especially when something like thin-sliced ham is added, as in the version below.


Recipe: The Spruce Eats

torta by stu_spivack (CC BY-SA)

Tortas | Mexico

A torta is a Mexican sandwich, often served street food-style, and, like a taco, there are many variations on the theme, including a range of meats — chicken, carnitas, steak, etc. — and fillings — refried beans, cheese, veggies, condiments. The one below uses flavorful marinated carne asada skirt steak, avocado, hot sauce, cotija cheese, pickled jalapeños, and an assortment of crisp veggies.


Recipe: Spoon Fork Bacon

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Francesinha | Portugal

There are sandwich and soup combos, and there's the Portuguese francesinha, which is kind of like having both in one dish. This meat-heavy sandwich is usually made with ham, linguica sausage, steak or roast beef, and cheese on a soft white bread. But its magic is in the bold flavors of the sauce it's served with — in both drizzle and moat fashion — which usually includes beer, port wine, tomato sauce, bay leaves, chili sauce, and more. It's often served alongside a beer and French fries, and the version below includes a fried egg. Sounds like a hangover cure, no?


Recipe: Good Food

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Lomito Completo
Al Gonzalez/istockphoto

Lomito Completo | Argentina

Popular in certain South American areas, especially Argentina, the classic lomito completo consists of thin-sliced beef, (sometimes spicy) mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and onion — all topped with an over-easy egg. Some variations add ham and cheese, and all variations are delicious.


Recipe: Eat Well

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Gua Bao

Gua Bao | Taiwan

This mouthwatering Taiwanese treat combines braised pork belly with ingredients like cilantro, cucumber, chilies, green onions, and cashews or peanuts — all in a delicious steamed sugar bun. The version below glazes the pork belly in a flavorful sauce that includes honey, ginger, soy sauce, lemongrass, and more.


Recipe: Kitchen Sanctuary


Bifanas | Portugal

Cram an airy but crusty roll with sautéed pork loin slices flavored with garlic, paprika, white wine, and more, then throw in some sweet mustard and fried onions, and you've got yourself another one of Portugal's favorite sandwiches.


Recipe: Leites Culinaria 

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Максим Крысанов/istockphoto

Sabich | Israel

Forget falafel and try a sabich, a beloved Tel Aviv street food that consists of fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad (tomato, onion, cucumber, parsley), and more packed into a pita and topped with tahini sauce and Israeli pickles. It's based on an Iraqi breakfast and is a thoroughly messy treat.


Recipe: Serious Eats 

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Kaya Toast | Singapore

Kaya Toast | Singapore and Malaysia

This sweet sandwich comes from Singapore and Malaysia and employs kaya jam — coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, a pinch of salt, and more — sandwiched between a toasted soft white bread like pain de mie or Hokkaido milk loaf.


Recipe: MyRecipes 

Vada Pav
Patacón Maracucho
Antwon McMullen/istockphoto

Patacón Maracucho | Venezuela

Bread? Who needs bread? Fried plantains stand in for the usual sandwich carb in this Venezualan offering. Add roast chicken, a cilantro-mayo-avocado spread, lettuce, and tomato, and you have a sandwich that is thoroughly Latin American.


Recipe: Food.

Related: 50 Cheap and Easy Chicken Recipes


Cubano | Cuba

There's usually nothing fancy about a Cubano, and in that simplicity lies its tasty glory. While its origins can be traced to Cuba, the sandwich as we know it really took shape in Florida. Normally just roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, and a pickle, the well-reviewed recipe below takes those flavors to new heights with added ingredients like garlic, paprika, lime and orange juice, and more.

Recipe: Tasting Table

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Reuben | United States

Though its origin is an apparently testily disputed one (you can read roughly 2,000 words of that debate in Saveur, if you're interested), what isn't in dispute, at least among those who love sauerkraut, is the Reuben's tastiness. It originated in America, and in addition to fermented cabbage, ingredients include corned beef, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye.


Recipe: Delish 

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