There's really no escaping the fact that food is a huge part of travel.
We may not all consider ourselves culinary tourists, but food is a basic human need — you cannot travel and not eat. And you also cannot truly travel and avoid trying some local specialties. Whether it's fried bugs, spicy dishes, or tempting sweets, almost every region of the world has some type of food that it's famous for.
But I'm not always adventurous with my food. I don't like things that are too spicy. Or too sweet. Or completely unrecognizable as something edible (fermented shark? durian? NO THANK YOU).
So I don't have a list of “the craziest things I've ever eaten” or “the craziest things I would be willing to eat for money” (though maybe that one's worth writing?). What I do have in my mind are some of the best things I've ever eaten that I think the average person can relate to.
And so I bring you the 3 best sandwiches I have ever eaten.
I mean, who doesn't like sandwiches?
If you've been to New Zealand, chances are you've heard of Fergburger. This burger joint in the resort town of Queenstown is actually anything BUT just a burger joint. It's more of a legend. Not only are its sandwiches roughly the size of my head (and DELICIOUS), but the brand's irreverent and cheeky theme is entertaining, too. Begun 10 years ago down a side alley in Queenstown, Ferg's “history” states that:
“As there was virtually nothing else to eat back in those days, drunk people had begun eating their own clothes and also scraps of firewood left on the road. Ferg saw this and became distressed. He stood on Skyline Mountain and decreed: ‘Let there be burgers for the people to eat when they are drunk to hell.'”
These days, Fergburger has a prominent spot along Shotover Street, and often has lines snaking out the door. They are open 21 hours a day, and offer some of the best sandwiches around. My favorite? The one pictured above — the “Cockadoodle Oink,” which is described as “butterfied and crumbled chicken breast, American streaky bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli, and tomato relish.” YUM.
My other favorite sandwich names include: “Sweet Bambi” (Wild Fiordland deer with Thai plum chutney), “The Codfather” (Fresh Blue Cod, beer battered with Ferg's dill tartare), and “Osama bun Laden” (falafel patties dressed with lemon yoghurt and chipotle chili sauce). They of course also do regular burgers, along with huge bags of chips (fries) with tasty aioli dipping sauce.
I know some people might argue that other burger chains in New Zealand do sandwiches just as well (Burger Fuel, for example), but Fergburger is unique because it's the one and only.
Average price: $10-$14 NZD, and another $4-$5 NZD for a bag of chips. This might seem steep for a sandwich and fries, but, once you take exchange rates into account, the total is roughly $11-$15 USD, which isn't bad considering you get enough food for roughly 3 meals.
2. Primanti Brothers
This sandwich is near and dear to my heart. Along with sports teams and former steel mills, the Primanti sandwich is an icon of the city of Pittsburgh. It's the “true taste” of Steel City. And its history stretches back almost a century, back to when Joe Primanti opened a sandwich cart in the Strip District in the 1930s. He sold sandwiches to truckers on the go, and came up with the bright idea of putting fries right on top of the sandwich for better portability.
The original Strip District location was sold by Joe's brothers in 1974, and then expanded into a 24-hour location. Then came the other franchises and branches all over Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania — and even a few in Florida!
Primanti sandwiches are characterized by meat, cheese, tomato, fries, and coleslaw all piled on top of each other between two slices of thick bread. For the best sandwich, add an egg.
At the original location in the Strip District, the sandwiches are served only on wax paper — no fancy plates or anything here, folks. But that's part of what makes these sandwiches so delicious. Why mess with something that's worked for more than 75 years? (Though, I will admit that I have only had a “true” Primanti sandwich once — these days I order it sans coleslaw, as blasphemous as that is…)
Average price: $6-$8 USD per sandwhich. And remember that this price is for everything, including the fries!
1. Sedona Memories Bakery Cafe
The best sandwich I have ever eaten is not from a well-known location. In fact, it doesn't even have a special name or its own website. It's just a turkey sandwich from a little bakery/cafe in Arizona.
The cafe is Sedona Memories Bakery Cafe in the red rocks town of Sedona, Arizona. Down a little sidestreet and up a hill from the main Sedona drag sits a little unassuming cafe/bakery characterized by umbrella-shaded tables with checkered table cloths outside. Only open a few hours a day, this bakery/cafe makes sandwiches, soups, and goodies using only the freshest ingredients (and homemade bread!).
The sandwich I had that rocked my world was a turkey sandwich. But this wasn't your typical turkey-cheese-and-mustard sandwich. No, this one had thick slices of turkey, provalone cheese, cranberry sauce, avocado, lettuce, cream cheese and sunflower seeds all on thick slices of fresh bread. The sandwich was so large that my sister and I split it (that's only half of it in the photo!), but it was by far the best sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of eating.
Average price: $5-$7 USD. Considering the size of these sandwiches, this is definitely the best value on this list.
What's YOUR favorite sandwich, and where in the world can you eat it?
This post was sponsored by a third party.