One of the amazing things about food is the way that it signifies culture – with just a few tweaks of ingredients and method, something as basic as a sandwich is immediately given place and context. And indeed, every culture does have its own version of the humble sambo, some combination of meat, veggies and cheese wrapped in bread. In Vietnam, there’s the fragrant, spicy banh mi, rich with French-influenced pate and zingy with fresh herbs. In America, the Reuben has its roots in post-war Jewish emigration. In the Netherlands, smoked fish is placed on dark rye and called smorrebrod – and it’s delicious. And in Australia? Aren’t we the lucky country – we get to have all of them.
Let the sandwich fun begin.
In Mumbai, street vendors sell a heap of different sandwiches – this vegetable-centric version is just one idea. Pressed in a jaffle iron and eaten hot, these are definite crowd-pleasers.
Herbed rissoles, acidic red onion and a creamy tahini sauce: what’s not to love about the kofta sandwich?
Adding carbs to carbs? A definite do in our book. These sandwiches are filled with potato and chorizo (and sometimes beans and other meats), dipped in chilli sauce and fried. The ultimate hangover food? A serious contender.
Literally translated as “bread with olive oil,” this Maltese classic gets an upgrade from Shane Delia, who adds flavour-packed white anchovies to his.
Layers of thinly sliced beef pastrami, bitter sauerkraut and zesty mayo are held together – just - with slices of robust toasted rye: this is the Reuben, and it’s glorious.
Simple yet super satisfying, smorrebrod is also an excellent way to feed a crowd. Set out plates of hard-boiled eggs, good-quality mayo, smoked seafood and salted butter, as well as a heap of pumpernickel bread, and call it lunch.
Juicy beef spiced with the flavours of the Middle East and wrapped in soft floury bread – this shawarma is the stuff of dreams.
Sweet and savoury, snack or lunch, we can all agree on one thing: these Colombian treats are so, so good.
Ah, the Japanese sando – soft, fluffy white bread (the stuff you took to primary school, layered with devon and tomato sauce), usually filled with some sort of crumbed protein. In this case: crab croquettes. Add a generous dollop of Kewpie mayo and pour yourself a Sapporo.
Pickled veg, salsa and slow-cooked pork on a crunchy bun: the Bolivians have it all worked out.
Sold by street vendors, these pan-fried egg toasties marry Asian and Western flavours and are straight-up delicious.
Melted cheese, butter and jamon – indulgent, yes, but seriously worth the calorific splurge. Serve with a cold, crisp glass of French white and pretend you’re somewhere near Paris or Provence.
Rich with pate and zesty with fresh herbs, with an almost infinite variety of fillings, the banh mi is practically the perfect lunch.
Chileans love their sandwiches, and in particular, the lomito, a gargantuan combination of pork loin, sauerkraut, avocado, cheese and mayo.
A grown-up version of the bacon and chip butty, this ticks all our midday boxes. As long as we can have a nap afterwards.
Melting fontina, salty prosciutto and soft, smoky piadina bread: the Italian version of daily bread is molto bene.
The bustling street stalls of Karachi sell thousands of bun kababs a day – and it’s easy to see why.
A Caribbean version of the pork slider, these melt-in-the-mouth buns are borderline addictive. You have been warned.
A little different to the other sandwiches on this list, but we think it fits the loose definition. Crispy, spicy chicken folded in to a sweet, soft bun, conveniently palm-sized for easy handling. We’ll take two.
Chicarron is pork in Peru – braised, then fried in its own fat. In this sandwich, its piled into a roll with fried sweet potato and salsa… and makes the perfect midday eat.
Practically adopted by Aussies, souvlaki is a Greek classic for so many reasons. Vibrant chicken that drips with juice, fresh-as herbs and garlicky yoghurt all rolled into a barbecued flatbread.
And if you want even more sandwich stuffers, check out our collection here.