The World’s Most Iconic Sandwiches Slideshow

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Love sandwiches? Check out these amazing examples from around the world
Yakisoba Sandwich — Japan

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / gaelenh from / CC BY-SA 4.0

Grilled cheese. Ham and cheese. Meatball sub. Turkey club. Sandwiches are an essential part of America's lunchtime, and the ingredients shoved between two slices of bread can be as varied as one’s imagination. But sandwiches aren’t exclusive to the U.S. They continue across the globe with the Chilean barros luco, or a beef steak and melted cheese sandwich; the French croque monsieur, made with ham and cheese; and the Chinese donkey burger, which is relatively self-explanatory. Here are 12 iconic sandwiches from around the world.

The World’s Most Iconic Sandwiches

Yakisoba Sandwich — Japan

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / gaelenh from / CC BY-SA 4.0

Grilled cheese. Ham and cheese. Meatball sub. Turkey club. Sandwiches are an essential part of America's lunchtime, and the ingredients shoved between two slices of bread can be as varied as one’s imagination. But sandwiches aren’t exclusive to the U.S. They continue across the globe with the Chilean barros luco, or a beef steak and melted cheese sandwich; the French croque monsieur, made with ham and cheese; and the Chinese donkey burger, which is relatively self-explanatory. Here are 12 iconic sandwiches from around the world.

Barros Luco — Chile

This Chilean specialty includes beefsteak and melted cheese, as well as garlic cloves, cumin, and salt and pepper according to taste. It is named for Ramón Barros Luco, president of Chile from 1910 to 1915; he apparently always ordered this sandwich in the country's congressional dining room.

Cemita Poblana — Mexico

Cemita Poblana — Mexico

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Wotancito / CC BY-SA 3.0

This regional sandwich, which hails from the city of Puebla, is made in many different ways, one of which includes veal cutlets, avocados, queso blanco or mozzarella, and chipotle chiles. Eggs, breadcrumbs, and yellow onions are also popular additions.

Chivito — Uruguay

Chivito — Uruguay

Photo Modified: Flickr / Ed Kohler / CC BY 4.0

The chivito is an iconic creation out of Uruguay, and its ingredients really pack a punch. They include churrasco, or grilled and sliced beef, lettuce, tomato, ham, bacon, melted mozzarella, and a fried egg, as well as many optional additional toppings. A popular condiment is salsa golf, a ketchup-and-mayonnaise mixture that’s widely loved in Uruguay.

Croque Monsieur — France

Croque Monsieur — France

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This popular French sandwich dates from the early 1900s, when it was enjoyed in cafés and bars around cities like Paris as a quick snack. Croque comes from the verb croquer, “to crunch,” and monsieur of course means “mister.” It’s such a popular staple of the urban French menu that it was even mentioned in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. It is essentially a posh grilled ham and cheese, which incorporates Emmental or Gruyère. When it is served with a poached or fried egg on top, it becomes a croque madame.

Donkey Burger — China

Donkeys are a relatively popular food source in China, and the animals are usually raised both for their milk and meat products. The donkey burger is typically a hot sandwich that is heavily spiced and served in a flatbread pocket. Quality donkey meat is slow-cooked between eight and 20 hours so the meat retains it color and tenderness. The donkey meat is also a rich source of protein, iron, and calcium.

Gatsby — South Africa

Gatsby — South Africa

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The Gatsby, from Cape Town, is so popular that many South Africans visiting the southwest ern region of the country will make a point of tracking down the sandwich from one of the dozens of street vendors and corner cafés dotted around the Cape and its seaside towns. It’s similar to an American sub, but always has layers of fish (usually cod or snoek) between layers of fries with salt and vinegar, mashed into a giant soft roll and topped with spicy peri peri sauce. The sandwich is rumored to have gained popularity in the mid-1970s; the first one was allegedly made by Rashaad Pandy, an industrious fish and chips shop owner who was running out of fish during one afternoon lunch rush and needed a way to make what he had go further to feed boatloads of hungry fisherman around Cape Town. It’s large enough to feed at least two people, so you can buy it in halves, though many just buy a whole one and snack on it throughout the day.

Hot Chicken Sandwich — Canada

Hot Chicken Sandwich — Canada

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This Canadian specialty is, clearly, a chicken sandwich, but the real star of the show is the special sauce. It’s often made with Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cayenne pepper, and ketchup. Peas are also included in the sandwich. 

Lampredotto – Italy

Lampredotto – Italy

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This Tuscan sandwich is a Florence specialty. It’s a type of tripe made with the fourth stomach of the cow, typically thinly sliced and eaten with salsa verde inside a soft bun.

Peanut Butter and Jelly — United States

Americans love their PB&J sandwiches. From childhood to adulthood, it triples as a popular breakfast sandwich, lunch, and spontaneous snack. Despite its popularity in the United States, the rest of the world doesn’t quite agree — not only is peanut butter not widely consumed in other countries, but when it is, it’s almost never mixed with jelly.

Vada Pav — India

Vada Pav — India

Photo Modified: Flickr / Gary Stevens / CC BY 4.0

Known as either vada pav, wada pav, or vada paav, this handheld spicy veggie hamburger is a popular Indian street food. It’s made from batata vada potato fritter sandwiched between two slices of pav bread and traditionally comes with chutney made from shredded coconut, tamarind pulp, and garlic. Vada pav was originally popular among the country’s poor population due to the fact that its ingredients are inexpensive, but it quickly caught on nationwide and is now one of India’s iconic menu items, served even in the fanciest of hotels.

Vegemite Sandwich — Australia

Vegemite Sandwich — Australia

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The vegemite sandwich is one of Australia’s most popular snacks. Two slices of toast are smeared with the yeasty brown paste, which, as a bonus, happens to be one of the richest known sources of vitamin B. Vegemite is made from the leftover yeast extract that’s a by-product from beer making. It’s salty and slightly meaty in taste. Incidentally, many other countries (like England and South Africa) enjoy a similar product called Marmite, with a slightly different flavor.

Yakisoba Sandwich — Japan

Yakisoba Sandwich — Japan

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / gaelenh from / CC BY-SA 4.0

This carb-loaded lunch is an easy way to get your noodle fix on the go. The sandwich consists of soba noodles fried in soy sauce, stuck inside a hot dog bun, and topped with pickled ginger, Japanese horseradish, and savoy cabbage.