The sandwich is a universal food, and its possibilities are limitless. As long as it’s between two pieces of bread (or, as you’ll see, between two fried plantains), you can call it a sandwich and nobody will argue. Across the globe, people eat some stuff that other cultures consider to be pretty out there, but once it’s turned into a sandwich it becomes a little bit easier to understand, a little easier to sympathize with. In many ways, the sandwich is the great equalizer. There’s strife, war, poverty, and injustice, but at least we can all agree that sandwiches are awesome.
In our everyday existence, we encounter only a narrow band of the universal sandwich spectrum. There are the ones that we all know: peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, tuna salad, whatever they’re serving at Panera. Then there are the regional sandwiches, like spiedies in Binghamton, New York, which feature cubes of marinated and grilled meat on a soft Italian roll. They’re common in one specific place, but not really known outside of that.
We’ll be the first to admit that there are some sandwiches that you’ve never heard of because they’re just not that good. In Britain, for example, there’s actually something called a toast sandwich, which is just buttered toast between two slices of bread. Thankfully, the Dadaists didn’t invent any more sandwiches after that.
There’s a whole wide world of amazing sandwiches out there; some are American regional specialties and others are beloved in countries that you most likely haven’t visited. But just a warning: Once you know about them (and especially once you eat them), your life very well might never be the same. Click here to learn about 20 amazing sandwiches.