Choose your bread, choose your filling and take a lunchtime trip around the globe.
26 May 2016 - 10:00 AM  UPDATED 23 May 2017 - 9:50 AM

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.

Ahead of the shawarma battle on #TheChefsLine we go around the world on our lunch break.


Let the sandwich fun begin.


Bombay sandwiches

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.

Middle East

Kofta sandwiches

Herbed rissoles, acidic red onion and a creamy tahini sauce: what’s not to love about the kofta sandwich?


Pambazos, or potato and chorizo sandwiches

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.


Hobz biz zejt

Literally translated as “bread with olive oil,” this Maltese classic gets an upgrade from Shane Delia, who adds flavour-packed white anchovies to his.



Reuben sandwich with Russian mayonnaise and dill and garlic pickles

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.


"Smorrebrod", or open rye sandwiches

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.


Beef shawarma with tahini sauce

Juicy beef spiced with the flavours of the Middle East and wrapped in soft floury bread – this shawarma is the stuff of dreams.


Aborrajados, or double fried plantain, mozzarella and jam sandwiches

Sweet and savoury, snack or lunch, we can all agree on one thing: these Colombian treats are so, so good.


Kani Korokke Sando

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.

Crab croquette sandwiches (kani korokke sando)


Pulled pork rolls with pickled veg and salsa 

Pickled veg, salsa and slow-cooked pork on a  crunchy bun: the Bolivians have it all worked out.


Korean egg toast

Sold by street vendors, these pan-fried egg toasties marry Asian and Western flavours and are straight-up delicious.


Jamon croquet monsieur

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.


Banh mi thit

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.

Ultimate sandwich: brining pork overnight before cooking creates tender, juicy sandwich fillings.


Bubble bap

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.

Hunger may be the most powerful motivator.


Prosciutto and fontina piadina

Melting fontina, salty prosciutto and soft, smoky piadina bread: the Italian version of daily bread is molto bene.


Bun kabab

The bustling street stalls of Karachi sell thousands of bun kababs a day – and it’s easy to see why.


Jamaican goat buns

A Caribbean version of the pork slider, these melt-in-the-mouth buns are borderline addictive. You have been warned.


Chinese steamed buns

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.


Pan con chicarron, or the Peruvian pork roll

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.


Chicken souvlaki

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.

Have we got your attention and your tastebuds? The Chefs' Line airs 6pm weeknights on SBS. Check out the program page for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more.

Have you got a sweet tooth?
How to make a better sandwich (hint: use ice-cream)
Take your sandwich building to new frontiers and ditch your standard savoury fillings for ingredients of the iced kind. That's right, it's time to break the rules and make the sandwich of your dreams.