There is most likely no food that is more versatile than the humble sandwich. What is a sandwich? The United States Department of Agriculture says, “Product must contain at least 35 percent cooked meat and no more than 50 percent bread.” OK we disagree about meat being required, but anything else goes. From the super simple one-ingredient wonders like the solid grilled cheese to over-the-top towers of meat, veggies, and sauces that can never be managed in one sitting. The basic template of cramming anything into two pieces of starch is what allows the sandwich to be so much more, and its presence in practically every culture is what makes it so universal that transcends and even bridges gaps between classes and cultures.

We decided to take a jaunt around the globe, in search of different types of sandwiches, and comprised a mighty list that will hopefully leave you trying something that you never would have imagined.

Belgium 🇧🇪

Photo Credit: Cole Saladino

The mitraillette translates to ‘submachine gun’ in Flemish and is a buttered baguette stuffed with large pieces of meatballs, then topped with various veggies, then piled up with frites and drenched all over with cheese and mayo. This dish is uniquely Belgian, which means that the frites are going to be the best you have ever had, the baguette will be as fresh as ever, and what can go wrong when this sandwich pairs well with a Belgian beer? The next time you find yourself stumbling around Brussels at 3 a.m., enter one of the many friterie’s, and present yourself to the mitraillette in all its simple, greasy glory!

Uruguay 🇺🇾

Photo Credit: Cole Saladino

There’s even a Canadian version, chivito canadiense, that layers the original ingredients with Canadian bacon!

Malaysia 🇲🇾

Photo Credit: Bee Rasa

While the rest of the world indulges in fruity jams, people in this part of the world devour with no guilt or with any health concerns the saturated kaya, filled with delicious eggs, coconut milk, and sugar. For a perfect breakfast on the go, try making one for yourself!

South Africa 🇿🇦

Photo Credit: Boulart Bread

Today, this sandwich is one of Cape Town’s most famous exports. Just like the many sandwiches described here, this sandwich is known to have many other alterations, but the original version is make with polony (bologna), fries, and achar (hot sauce made with chili and green mango) or sometimes served with the classic South African hot sauce piri piri.

India 🇮🇳

Photo Credit: Maunika Gowardhan

Some may make the Bombay sandwich with onions or ketchup, and even strips of green bell peppers. One thing is for certain, though. Bombay sandwiches are buttered on the outside and grilled in a sandwich press until gently warmed up. After tasting one of these, you’ll soon forget about the over-rated use of bacon.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦

Photo Credit: Sofra Kriska

The origin of this sandwich comes from Serbia and is relatively recent, as it was a popular food during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into the Balkans. Nowadays, this popular food stand option is considered a national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, and Serbia!

Senegal 🇸🇳

Photo Credit: Mamadou Diallo

At some street vendors, it’s a little bit more up to you. You go to the bakery, purchase the baguette, the street vendors add the parts, and wraps it in yesterday’s newspaper, giving you both a satisfying sandwich and a chance to catch up on some news or finish the crossword!

Japan 🇯🇵

Photo Credit: Elena Nakayama

While the bread is fluffy, pillowy and all, the filling is what steals the show. Symmetrically shaped strawberries, kiwi, mango, and blueberries make the centerpiece of this sandwich. Perfect for a quick snack or breakfast, this sandwich pairs well with a brew of coffee or tea. Just don’t forget to trim the crust!

Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹

Photo Credit: Kate Peters

This sandwich is often drizzled in condiment after condiment. From pepper sauce to garlic sauce, the options of what you can put on are endless. The next time you’re on this island, visit Richard’s Bake and Shark on Maracas Beach for their famous and delicious bake and shark!

USA 🇺🇸

If you’re looking for a late night food option that isn’t the incredible Halal Guys cart, venture to the nearest bodega for an incredible, all-American sandwich!

Photo Credit: Katherine Diaz

From shark meat to fruits and whipped cream, sandwiches from around the world are as diverse as the people who roam these lands. As society progresses into becoming more global, sandwiches now serve as a portal into the rich cultures of the world, providing an entry into cuisines that are different from our own. Just like Anthony Bourdain said, ‘Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.’

Love traveling for the best food out there? Visit to find the best destinations for your next trip, or to map everywhere you’ve ever traveled! 🗺️📍

Originally published at on July 9, 2020.

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