It’s National Sandwich Day for those in the UK, but it’s also important to note that there are many types of sandwiches across the world.
In various cultures around the planet, the process of wrapping or folding some bread around an array of foodstuffs and condiments has been commonplace for hundreds of years. Whilst many believe that John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich’s invention is the be-all and end-all, there are many delicious options that are a must if stumbled across when on one’s gap year.
Here are five of the best, with help by sandwich expert and writer of Mega Sandwich blog, Philip Roberts.
The origin of the Reuben sandwich is hotly disputed. Some say it was Lithuanian born Reuben Kulakofsky, a grocer residing in Nebraska, while others credit Arnold Reuben, the German owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen, New York City. Whoever invented it, though, deserves a medal or two as it’s an amazing sandwich, combining European and American flavours to great success. The traditional Reuben contains corned beef with creamy Swiss cheese and sauerkraut with Russian or Thousand Island dressing served in rye bread and toasted.
France’s most famed sandwiches, Croque monsieurs, first appeared on Parisian cafe menus back in 1910, simply combining cheese and ham in a toasted sandwich and topped with béchamel sauce. A traditional Croque monsieur will use gruyere cheese, but any creamy cheese such as Emmental will also make for a great sandwich. The toasted bread is essential to create the crunch, blending perfectly with the creamy cheese and bechamel. The crunch is so important that it’s even in the name; coming from the verb croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”).
The lobster roll, created in the lobster capital of America, New England, is a beautifully simple sandwich made by shoving butter-soaked lobster in a soft hot-dog style roll. The lobster roll first originated at Perry’s restaurant in Milford, Connecticut as early as 1929. The sweet juicy lobster and rich butter dressing need little accompaniment, but will often be served with mayonnaise and a little salad. New England is very proud of their lobster rolls, they are now in cafes and restaurants all over New England and even McDonald’s have had a go in the form of the McLobster Roll!
New York pastrami sandwich
The result of Eastern European immigrants in New York, pastrami sandwiches have become one of The Big Apple’s most iconic dishes. The most famous place to enjoy a pastrami sandwich in New York is Katz Deli, which has been serving pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs since its founding in 1888. Katz’s serves around 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of pastrami each week to thousands of dedicated New Yorkers and hungry tourists. A New York-style pastrami sandwich simply serves a huge stack of hot pastrami between thinly sliced white bread.
Lamb or chicken shawarma
Over the years, the Middle-East has established a revered and distinct array of cuisine, and the shawarma appears to be the region’s response to the Turkish kebab or the Greek gyro. Lean meat is marinated with an array spices like turmeric, cumin and paprika and skewered for a long time over a wood fire. The meat is then placed on a wrap or pita with an assortment of toppings that can include hummus, pickled turnips and gherkins. Tahini is also a common feature that helps alleviate and dryness.