In view of Sandwich Day on the 3rd of November, food ordering app foodpanda gathered 10 variations of the most popular snack in the world, as translated by 10 different countries.
#1 India: Vada Pav
Vada Pav is a spicy veggie hamburger that consists of a batata vada potato fritter sandwiched between two slices of pav bread. It usually comes topped with a chutney made from shredded coconut, tamarind pulp, and garlic.
Fun fact: While the Vada Pav started as food for the poor (it’s cheap to make), it quickly caught on nationwide and is now one of India’s favorite fast food dishes, yet is also served in the fanciest of hotels.
#2 Malaysia: Roti John
A snack in Malaysia, as well as Brunei and Singapore, the Roti John is essentially an omelette sandwich on a baguette-like bread, but can be dressed up with other ingredients, including minced meat (chicken or lamb), onion, and sardines with a tomato-chili sauce.
Fun fact: ‘Roti’ is Hindi, Urdu, and Malay for bread, but the word John crept into the sandwich’s name as a proxy for all things Western, namely the type of bread and tomato sauce.
#3 Vietnam: Bánh mì
Bánh mì is actually Vietnamese for bread, especially the French-introduced baguette that houses the sandwich of the same name. The filling is basically a free-for-all hybrid of Viet-Franco ingredients: mayo, cilantro, garlic and fish sauce, cucumber, pickled carrots, plus either barbecue pork, fried tofu, pork belly, and ham, plus some pâté thrown on for good measure.
Fun fact: It was allegedly invented in Vietnam in the early ’20s by Le Vo, a smoothie street vendor clearly ahead of his time — smoothies! In the ’20s? After closing up shop to escape the war in 1972, he landed in San Jose, CA and opened Ba Le Bakery, oft cited as the first Bánh mì joint in the US.
#4 Japan: Katsu-sando
Breaded pork on white bread and cabbage. Very minimal, much like Japanese culture in general.
Fun fact: We thought that looked like a schnitzel. Invented in Tokyo in 1899 at a restaurant called Rengatei, the sandwich was originally considered a type of yoshoku — a Western dish with local influences.
#5 United States: BLT
BLT, very straight-forwardly named for its ingredients: Bacon, lettuce, tomato. It is often served on toasted bread with mayonnaise.
Fun fact: The abbreviation ‘BLT’ first appeared in print during the early 1950s and is still the second most popular sandwich in the United States (the simple ham sandwich being the first).
#6 Mexico: Cemita
Cemita is made with an egg-based, brioche-like bread which is usually topped with layers of sliced avocado, meat (most likely deep-fried beef), white cheese, onions, herbs, and salsa roja.
Fun fact: Originally from Puebla, the word “cemita” refers to both the sandwich and the bread it employs.
#7 France: Croque Madame
Croque Madame is the female version of Croque Monsieur, which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich made with Emmental or Gruyère and bechamel. But, the cheese is on top of the bread. The ‘Madame’ version has a fried egg on top!
Fun fact: Having originated in French cafés and bars as a snack around 1910, the sandwich boasts a proud literary heritage — its earliest mention is allegedly in volume two of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1918).
#8 Middle East: falafel
Falafel, one of the most popular veggie streets foods around the world, is made of deep-fried balls of ground, seasoned chickpeas topped with salad vegetables, hot sauce, tahini-based sauces, added to the pocket of a split-open pita bread.
#9 Germany: Fischbrötchen
Fischbrötchen is a sandwich made with crusty bread rolls filled with fish (most commonly Bismarck or soused herring) and onions. Sometimes you’ll also find it with remoulade and pickles. It is most commonly eaten in northern Germany, due to the regions’s proximity to the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
Fun fact: Fischbrötchen is the second most popular snack in Germany after currywurst.
#10 Chile: Chacarero
Chacareros are made of thinly sliced, grilled churrasco-style steak on a round roll with tomatoes, peppers and green beans.
Fun fact: Did Chile invent the farm-to-table trend? Chacra means farm, and refers to the chacarero’s farm-fresh fixings.