Imagine a world without sandwiches. Where we glumly sat down at lunch, unable to imagine how bread, meat and cheese could ever get on together. Now, after you've cried your tears, feel happy in the knowledge that our world is literally full of sandwiches.
But therein lies another problem. With so many choices, how do you prevent disappointment?
In comes us. We've spent an unhealthy amount of time salivating over the greatest the world has to offer between two slices of bread and put together a list of the ultimate ten.
Take a deep breath, clear some space for that drool spot and read on...
Oh and make sure to let us know what we've missed off at the bottom.
Katz's Pastrami at Katz's Delicatessen
Long before it featured in that orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, Katz’s Deli was a New York institution. Established in 1888, Katz’s has served countless generations of New Yorkers and tourists alike. And the reason they keep flocking is its signature pastrami on rye. Served simply on mustard adorned bread, with a side of pickles, this is the most moist and tender pastrami imaginable. If you can wolf it down in one sitting, more power to your belly. If you can’t, return to it hours later – the infusion of the meat, mustard and rye is pure heaven.
Grilled cheese at Kappacasein
If there is such a thing as a gastronomic Shangri-La it must surely be London’s Borough Market. And in among the magnificent array of heavenly smells, one stall teases customers in like a foodie Pied Piper with its evocative waft of melted cheese. Kappacasein’s toasted cheese sandwich is unlike any cheese sarnie you’ve ever experienced. The mix of shredded Montgomery cheddar, onions, garlic and leeks packed tightly into the sourdough bread is everything a sandwich should be: comforting, filling and reassuringly tasty.
Francesinha at Bufete Fase
At the risk of sounding like Joey Tribbiani, indulge us for a short while: Ham? Good. Cured pork sausage? Good. Steak? Good. Thick, gooey melted cheese? Good. A rich tomato and beer sauce? Mmmm… you sure you’re not making this up? Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Francesinha, Portugal’s most notable gift to the world. Well, after Cristiano Ronaldo. And all those 15th and 16th Century expeditions across the globe. And if you really want to get a slice of this authentic action, there’s only one place to head – Bufete Fase in Porto. A tiny restaurant (a few tables) with mountains of history.
Fish Banh Mi at Banh Mi 11
Having risen to prominence over the last decade, Vietnamese food now tops many a food lover’s list. We reckon this mighty Fish Banh Mi sandwich is partly responsible. To be found at the Banh Mi 11 stall on London’s Broadway Market or King’s Cross Boulevard, this is a dish that rebuts the notion that sandwiches are fast food. The grilled catfish is infused with turmeric and slow cooked with dill and spring onion so the delicate flavours can properly rub shoulders. The end result is mesmerising.
Vada Pav at Nitin Patil
If there's one thing we like our food to have, it's awards. This tasty treat from Mumbai won its creator Nitin Patil, the prize of Mumbai's Best Vada Pav in 2010. We imagine you might be screaming "But what on earth is a Vada Pav?" Well, it's quite simply a mouth-wateringly spiced potato fritter sandwiched in a bun. Like a lot of authentic snacks, the best is sold on the street and, next time you're in India, go to Nitin's stall at the I.C Colony, Borivali. Oh and bring us.
Philly Cheesesteak at Pudge's Steaks and Hoagies
Philadelphia has much to recommend it: music, the Liberty Bell, Rocky… but if you were only in The City of Brotherly Love for an hour the one thing you must do is chow down on a Philly cheesesteak. Tongue-tickling slices of premium grade steak, melted cheese, mushrooms and onions combine to create a delightful disco in your mouth. Aficionados swear by Pudge’s Steaks and Hoagies as the place to sample this monster roll. We’re not about to argue.
Cemita De Milanesa at Cemitas las Poblanitas
Perhaps because of Mexico’s countless other gifts to cuisine, its national sandwich – the cemita – isn’t as heralded as it should be. But believe us, one bite into the delicate flavours of the soft cemita bun and its bounty inside and you won’t turn back. The city of Puebla is home to the cemita and Cemitas las Poblanitas is the place to try it. This monster contains breaded pork, chili, cheese, avocado and onion and tourists all over the world regularly beat a path to Cemitas las Poblanitas’s stall in Puebla to sample its vibrant punch.
Croque Monsieur at Les Deux Magots
It’s often said that the French don’t do sandwiches. The heretics uttering such banalities are fools who have obviously never experienced the grand simplicity of a grilled ham and cheese sarnie (a croque monsieur) at long-standing Parisian institution Les Deux Magots. Cultural heavyweights Balzac, Hemingway and Picasso were all regular patrons of this chic café, but really you need no extra encouragement to pop in besides the magical mix of ham, cheese and toasted bread. An enduring classic.
El Bocadillo at La Boqueria
While we might be easily impressed with flashy additions to the traditional sandwich, we're even more impressed when things are kept simple and they work just as effectively. Case in point, the back-to-basics brilliance of the bocadillo in Spain. The minimalist sandwich is all about the tastiness of two major ingredients: jamon (that's fancy ham) and a rustic baguette. The greatest of which can be found in La Boqueria, a market in Barcelona. Keeping it real, you hear us?
Shrimp Po Boy at Parkway Bakery and Tavern
A Po Boy sandwich might look like a regular sub, but the juxtaposing attributes of the roll – the crackling crust and soft interior – separate it from your common or garden submarine. To experience a quintessential Shrimp Po Boy there is only one place to go – the historic Parkway Bakery and Tavern. Fried shrimp, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and a distinctive homemade remoulade sauce work together to make up this erstwhile working man’s dish (hence the name) a Louisiana speciality.