The British like to think they know a thing or two about the sandwich, even going so far as to claim their Earl of Sandwich invented it – although it’s likely he copied the design from early Mediterranean fast food boffins. From the vegemite sandwich of Australia to the frankly weird Quebecois hot chicken sandwich, every nation has its spin on the bread envelope – and they are often as calorific as they are delicious.
Take the Mexican Cemita, for example: packed with meat, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, chillies, and pungent papalo, it’s no wonder this seeded bun weighs in at over 800 calories – although with all that spice going on, you’ll probably break a sweat trying to eat it. Track it down to its hometown of Puebla, and they’ll even make it for you with a traditional cheesy fringe. The Belgian Mitraillette (or ‘submachine gun’) is more of a no-nonsense way to plug that hunger – and fill those jeans. Stuffed full of meat, chips, mayo and onions, the Brits will be kicking themselves that they didn’t think of it first.
Asia has a more delicate approach to the sandwich: India’s Vada Pav puts a spiced potato fritter between the slices, weighing in at just 300 calories and available from street vendors for as little as 25 rupees. The Japanese Yakisoba-pan is even less fattening, not to mention delicious with its noodles-and-meat interior padded out with vegetables and pickled ginger.
But what of that Canadian oddity? You’ll find chicken between the covers (fair enough), but then the whole thing is soaked in gravy and covered with peas. Along with its Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cayenne pepper and ketchup, it makes for a soggy prospect, and you’ll probably need a fork. Not quite the convenience food the Earl had in mind, but surely he would applaud the continuing inventiveness of the world’s sandwich pioneers.