13 Sandwiches from all over the World
How many sandwiches from around the world do we actually know? Some have international reputations, like the panini or the croque monsieur. Some are definitely worth getting to know better, such as the choripán or the Gatsby. All of them have great stories to tell.
Made with flatbread or from sliced loaves; white or whole grain; wheat, corn, or rice flour; triangular, square or round; puffy or crusty; hot or cold; filled with meat, fish or vegetables; topped with butter, mayo or other sauces… there is a sandwich for every taste. For some people, sandwiches are the basis of their daily diet. For others they are reserved for eating out during work or school, at picnics or while traveling. As international cultural exchanges gets richer, our landscape of world sandwiches expands a bit more every day. And contrary to popular belief, the sandwich is not a modern invention.
The Sandwich: A British invention?
While its birth is commonly attributed to the gambling addict John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who wanted a food easy to eat with one hand in order to continue his 24 hour gambling marathon in 1762, the sandwich has actually existed outside of Western civilization for centuries. The oldest reference to bread filled with ingredients dates back to the 1st century B.C. when a certain Hillel the Elder reportedly started the Passover tradition of putting lamb, nuts and herbs between two pieces of unleavened bread. That might be true, but it was Montagu who lent his name to the invention!
Is a burger a sandwich?
The debate rages on the internet and in real life. First, let’s agree on the fact that the first necessary characteristic of a sandwich is that it doesn’t require cutlery to eat. As well, it must include bread. But — here we go — how much, and what type? If it is “open-faced” is it still a sandwich, or does it need two pieces of bread? If so, is a filled bread like pita and the famous döner kebab a sandwich? What about flatbread encircling the other ingredients, like in wraps or dürüm? These are complex questions to answer, but in some places the law did just that. Massachusetts ruled that a “sandwich” includes at least two slices of bread, and that therefore tacos, burritos or quesadillas are under this definition not sandwiches. In the United Kingdom, the word “sandwich” only designates an item with bread sliced from a loaf. If an entire bread roll is used, it is called a “roll.” If this roll is hot, it is a “burger.” Still following?
In the end, though, who cares about the name as long as it’s tasty? At Food People Places, we decided to present different kind of sandwiches, even including some that are open-faced: it would be a shame to exclude too many cultures just because they don’t have the same kind of bread! Say hi to German toast Hawaii, Polish zapiekanka and Danish smørrebrød! Of course, we couldn’t speak about all sandwiches from all over the world but we would have loved to talk about the Katsu Sando from Japan, the Vada Pav from India or the Mexican Cemita…
Check back throughout the upcoming days to discover the recipes for making these sandwiches and revolutionize your office lunch!
Some Fun facts :
- Eating a sandwich while driving is forbidden by law in France.
- In 2008, an attempt in Iran to beat the record for the world’s biggest sandwich failed when the impatient crowd ate it before it was measured.
- The most expensive sandwich ever sold was a grilled toast sandwich that seemed to have an image of the Virgin Mary on it. It sold for $28,000 in 2004.