Katzs deli pastrami sandwich

The 11 best sandwiches in the world, which one costs only 35 cents?

by Michael on February 18, 2013

Sandwiches are one of the universal foods, they’re cheap and convenient. We ate way too many of them on our trip and offer up the 11 best sandwiches in the world.

1) Shawarma in Jerusalem

Shawarma Jerusalem

A shawarma is a Middle Eastern sandwich made from meats (often lamb or chicken) that are cooked while rotating on a vertical spit. While it may look like a human leg spinning around, the spiced meat is delicious. It is shaved off and placed in a pita bread with a choice of toppings; usually hummus, tahini, tabbouleh, cucumbers and pickled vegetables. The flavors meld together into an incredibly tasty combination. The shawarmas pictured above come from side by side stands in Jerusalem.

2) Ham sandwich in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland French Market ham sandwich

At the Saturday-only French Market in Auckland, you can try one of the great Kiwi bargains; $4.25 USD gets you a freshly carved ham sandwich on a crispy French baguette with lettuce and dressing. 

Auckland French Market Ham sandwich

3) Chopped rib on weck in Saratoga Springs, New York

BBQsa Saratoga rib sandwich weck

PJ’s BAR-B-QSA is one of our favorite barbecue joints. It’s a road trip of American barbecue offering regional specialties from all over the country. The rib sandwich is served on a weck roll, a western upstate New York specialty that is topped with kosher salt and caraway seeds. 

4) Kapana in Namibia

men eating kapana in Namibia

Part of the fun of kapana, the popular street food of Namibia, is how it’s eaten. You tell the vendor how much you want to spend and he pushes that amount over on the grill with his knife. You then grab it with your fingers and dip it into a communal box full of salt and spices. Tasty yes but not a sandwich. To make it a sandwich do what we did. Walk over to one the vendors selling fresh Portugeuse rolls, split it open and stuff the bread with the kapana. Now that’s a sandwich. It might have been donkey meat, we’re still not quite sure, but it sure tasted good.

5) Pastrami sandwich in New York

Katzs deli pastrami best sandwiches in the world

We both grew up in New York where the love of pastrami was drilled into us at an early age. Our favorite is still the classic with pickles and an egg cream at Katz’s Deli in Lower Manhattan. It’s where Meg Ryan loved the food in a famous scene from “When Harry Met Sally,” or maybe she was just faking it.

6) Pulled pork sandwich in Cincinnati, Ohio

Findlay market best sandwiches in the world

The award-winning barbecue team from Velvet Smoke plies its trade at the historic Findlay Market in Cincinnati. The pulled pork offers the right combination of tenderness, flavor and bite.

7) Bahn Mi in Hue, Vietnam (Winner: Best value)

Banh Mi sandwich

The sandwich is called banh mi but that is just Vietnamese for bread, in this case, a delicious crusty French baguette. The stuffing is typically grilled pork, perhaps compressed pig ears, liver pate, cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots and a spread such as mayonnaise or spicy chili sauce. These bahn mi were 35 cents each, feeding us a delicious lunch for two for only 70 cents. The baguettes alone were worth more than that.

8 ) Hog roast and haggis sandwich in Edinburgh, Scotland

Hog roast haggis sandwich Edinburgh

Nothing like slapping on some haggis before the roasted hog. Haggis, the national food of Scotland and something they are oddly proud of, is sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, oatmeal, onion, oatmeal, suet and spices wrapped in a sheep’s stomach. Seriously. When combined with roasted hog it is pretty intense.

Pork and haggis sandwich castle terrace market edinburgh

Hard to beat the setting just below Edinburgh Castle. For a video of our haggis taste test check out “A Fistful of Haggis.”

9) Porchetta in  Assisi, Italy

Assisi porchetta best sandwiches in the world

You know your sandwich is going to be fresh when the head is staring at you. We have to admit though, it did make us feel a bit guilty.

10) Philly cheesesteak in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Philly cheesesteak Cambodia

Yo, we’re from Philly so we had to include at least one cheesesteak. After a tiring day touring Angkor Wat, Little Rocky approved of this one at the Warehouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Gotta love that French baguette.

11) Kokorec in Istanbul (Winner: The best sandwich in the world)

Kokorec best sandwich turkey

And the winner is, the kokorec sandwich in Turkey. It’s so delicious it even earned its own blog post: Damn, that’s good sheep intestine The title sort of gives away one of the main ingredients.

The world’s worst sandwich: Vegemite sandwich in Australia

Vegemite sandwich

Men At Work made it famous, but the world’s worst sandwich is the Vegemite sandwich. For those who haven’t tried it, Vegemite tastes like salty, fermented toe snarf. Straight from Australia’s Bush country, here’s a video of our official vegemite taste test. Watch it at your own peril.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Here’s our review of pizza on 6 continents: The best pizza in the world, it’s not in Italy

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Cat of Sunshine and Siestas February 18, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thankfully my lunch is just about out of the oven! My first job was in a deli, and I’ve been a sucker for a good sandwich since. My pick for a Spanish sandwich is the serranito, a pork loin with a slice of serrano ham, tomato and fried green pepper between two baguette slices.

Michael February 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

You know Cat, we had some great sandwiches in Spain too. That one sounds delicious.

Bethaney - Flashpacker Family February 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I became addicted to BBQ pulled pork sandwiches in the US. They’re just so damn tasty. That Shawarma looks like it could give it a run for it’s money though!

Lillie - @WorldLillie February 19, 2013 at 12:12 am

This post makes me both happy and hungry! Great roundup. New sandwiches to target in my quest to eat all the best of the world! 🙂

Doz & Amanda February 19, 2013 at 3:47 am

I can’t believe you missed the humble Cheddar cheese and Branston pickle sandwich 🙂 Simple and delicious.

Luckily for us, being in London now, we can get hold of a mouth-watering Shawarma with a short walk down the Edgware Road, but i think the setting of the eating also has a lot to do with the enjoyment.

Hope all is well with you guys, take care

robin February 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

Francesca – Porto
Doner Kebab – Berlin (where it was invented ironically)

Michael February 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

It is hard to choose between the two.

Michael February 19, 2013 at 10:21 am

Bring your appetite!

Michael February 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

Yes, we must thank you for introducing us to the cheddar and Branston pickle sandwich and no, we didn’t forget it.

Michael February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

We love doner kebabs, but didn’t know they were invented in Berlin.

Kate @30Traveler February 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm

If any post needed a vegans look away warning it’s this one, lol. But… my omnivore partner will love this!

Bret @GGT February 21, 2013 at 12:06 am

That hog roast and haggis sandwich looks/sounds VERY interesting. One of the most memorable sandwiches we’ve had was in Chile recently. We couldn’t read the menu (no habla Espanol), so we ordered the house special. It was nearly as big as Mary’s head, with 4 kinds of meat on it, and lasted us two days. We REALLY need to learn Spanish!

Cj Thapa February 21, 2013 at 4:31 am

Oh nooooooo….

My mouth is watering and i can’t help it. Different different kinds of sandwiches…

Michael February 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

You know I was thinking of postimng such a warning. I eat a lot of roasted veggie sandwiches too.

Michael February 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hi Bret,

Did you ever find out what it was?

Michael February 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hi CJ,

They’ll give you good energy for all that mountain climbing in Nepal.

CJ Thapa February 22, 2013 at 1:56 am

So, have you tried it before?

Cole @ FourJandals.com February 25, 2013 at 4:09 am

So glad to see the Haggis and pulled pork roll from Edinburgh made it in the list! I have one at least every month 😉 DELICIOUS!

Michael February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

Wow, you really eat that every month? That’s hardcore.

Michael February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

And you can’t beat the price.

Tina February 25, 2013 at 8:50 pm

How about a bite of a vegemite sandwich in Australia?

Nese May 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Doner Kabab was not invented in Berlin. It is the Turks that brought it to Germany.

Jerry A. October 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm

When we visited Mexico, my family and I (and another family) loved the torta al pastor. The meat is similar to a gyro or shawarma, layers of marinated on a vertical apit, sliced off as it cooks. We all had a taste on the first night at a local restaurant. On our next visit, 6 out of 7 of us ordered it

Michael October 9, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hi Jerry,

That sounds delicious. I think pastor is pork based on the pastor tacos I’ve had in Texas.

Patricia Teel March 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Cuban Sandwich in Ybor City (Tampa Florida).

Michael March 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Thanks for the tip.

Graeme March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Hey- I don’t think you gave Vegemite a fair go! It actually makes a great snack. Maybe try it a second (or third) time 🙂
And to those of you who have not sampled it – please do so, it is worth it.

Michael March 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Ok, I’ll try it again. But I don’t know . . .

RickGriffin April 9, 2014 at 11:52 am

Great list! Just added a few to our bucket list!

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