Unbelievable Sandwiches from Around the World
We've tracked down the planet's best meals on bread.
The Vietnamese-French Hybrid
Banh mi (pronounced "bun mee") masterfully combines a crisp baguette with a succulent filling, such as tangy-salty grilled chicken, and bracing toppings, from chilies and cilantro to cucumbers to pickles. Once a trendy food, it has now settled into the realm of classic-Asian-sandwiches-Americans-love-to-eat; and now, established food writer Andrea Nguyen has devoted an entire book to the subject, aptly titled The Banh Mi Handbook
. Her advice: Be choosy about the bread but don't suffer over it; a toaster oven can be your best ally for reinvigorating a soft baguette.
Get the recipe: Master Banh Mi with Hanoi Grilled Chicken
The Italian Sandwich That's Not a Panini
A Mediterranean take on English high tea sandwiches, tramezzini make us reevaluate our position on plain white bread. Because as chef Luca Manfé shows in his new book, My Italian Kitchen
, the soft slices are the ideal blank canvas for flavorful Italian ingredients, such as cured meats, tuna, sharp cheeses, arugula and olives. In Italy, you can buy crustless white bread but it's hard to find here, so Manfé just uses a regular white sandwich loaf and cuts the crust off.
Get the recipe: Bresaola, Arugula and Grana Padano Tramezzino
Le Crazy Good Ham and Cheese
The French croque monsieur is a sandwich that somehow manages to be utterly simple (it's just bread, ham, cheese and béchamel sauce) yet ridiculously decadent. Kim Sunée, whose new book is A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels
, calls it "a quick bite, a late night snack or even breakfast." Whatever time you're eating it, Sunée recommends trying it with a fried egg on top, which creates a deliciously oozy sauce (and calling it a "croque madame" instead).
Get the recipe: Croque Madame
The Fusiony Meal We Never Expected
This spiced chicken flatbread sandwich has a Middle Eastern name, but don't expect falafel or hummus. According to the new book Brazilian Barbecue & Beyond
, by David Ponte and siblings Jamie and Lizzy Barber, two Syrian brothers living in São Paulo, Brazil, in the 1950s created it when they ran out of regular sliced bread at their diner. We're guessing they never went back to the old way, since flatbread actually forms the perfect, not-too-overpowering base for a marvelous combination of chili mayonnaise, a handful of arugula, sliced tomatoes and strips of peppery chicken and grated cheddar.
Get the recipe: The Beirut
Photo: Lauri Patterson/E+/Getty Images
The Pita Sandwich You Haven't Tried Before
When we think Greek sandwich, we often picture a beef, lamb or chicken gyro. Yet, a Greek salad actually works brilliantly in a pita, and delivers the same variety of flavors and textures without any of the grease you occasionally find in gyros. You start by spreading a tangy garlic-mayo dressing on the bread, then top it with a mixture of thinly sliced cucumbers, halved grape tomatoes, slivers of red onion, chopped romaine and crumbled feta.
Get the recipe: Greek Salad Sandwich with Creamy Lemon Dressing