Supposedly named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich in England after he ordered slices of meat between two pieces of bread to keep his hands grease-free for the game of cribbage in which he was immersed, this global tradition has probably existed since Neolithic times when bread was invented. Just a tip of the iceberg, here’s a small list of some global versions of a universal comfort food.
1) Bánh Mì or Bánh M?
A harmonious marriage of French and Asian cultures, the bánh mì usually contains pickled carrots and radishes, cucumbers, cilantro, chilis and either meat (usually pork or Vietnamese sausage) or tofu with pâté and mayonnaise artfully piled into a crunchy-crusted baguette.
2) Broodje Bal
Another simple snack, this Dutch dish, in the most fundamental state, equates to a meatball sandwich. While the Swiss are storing away foreign money in their banks and eating bite-sized meatballs, the Dutch are designating a day of the week (Wednesday’s) as Meatball Day and making the meaty concoctions twice the size of their neutral neighbors. It’s only natural they would one day end up between two pieces of bread.
A soft flatbread piled high with roasted lamb, onions, tomatoes and the flavor-packed, yet difficult to spell, tzatziki sauce (yogurt, cucumbers and garlic) comes from our Ouzo-drinking, Windex-squirting friends from Greece. In America, the gyro meat comes from a combination of minced lamb and beef processed into the famous cone-like shape and roasted on a large spit. It’s a little less romantic, but it can’t be any worse than the hamburger patties at any typical fast food joint.
4) Mortadella Sandwich
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, if you visit the Mercado Municipal, a huge market full of vendors, restaurants and snack bars, you can eat a sandwich full of the tastiest version of bologna known to man, called mortadella. A crusty roll is the vehicle for a stack of hot and greasy mortadella the size of your head and a slice of provolone. Simplicity at it’s finest and meatiest, you can add things like onions, garlic or mushrooms, but why would you mess with perfection?
Not to be confused with the Spanish and Phillipino omelette-like dish or the word referring to a birthday or wedding cake in most South American countries, but a stellar Mexican sandwich. Typically made with the soft bollilo rolls, there are endless combinations of condiments and meats to pile on to your heart’s content. Common garnishes include lettuce, tomato, avocado, jalapenos, sour cream or crema and cheese. Meat ranges from shredded beef or chicken, pork, beef tongue, shrimp, fish, bologna, ham and traditionally and regionally prepared meats.
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