When thinking of iconic Japanese foods, there is a good chance that sandwiches won't immediately come to mind. However, anyone who has spent a fair amount of time in a Japanese convenience store likely has a special place in their heart for the humble Japanese sando.
Japanese Sandwiches: Sando
These sandos (the Japanese name for sandwiches) are made from simple ingredients like Japanese milk bread filled with pork cutlets, eggs, or fruit, and offer quick and delicious meals that even people like Anthony Bourdain appreciate.
The starting point of most sandos is Japanese milk bread or shokupan. This special bread is made with a higher concentration of milk and butter than traditional Western bread, giving it a chewy, soft texture that stands up well to wet ingredients and toasting. While bread has existed in Japan since the 1500s, modern iterations of shokupan developed after World War II when bakers took loaves of bread made for American servicemen and altered the recipe to meet the needs and tastes of the Japanese people.
Japanese sandwiches, like most foods, are subject to changing trends and times. However, some stalwart sandwich selections have earned their place in the “pan”theon of Japanese tradition.
Egg Salad Sandwich: Tamago Sando
One such sandwich is the aforementioned egg salad sandwich, tamago sando. Light, fluffy, and made with tangy Japanese mayo, this sandwich can be found in all convenience stores around Japan.
Pork Cutlet Sandwich: Katsu Sando
Similarly, the pork cutlet sandwich, katsu sando, is a thick cut fried pork cutlet topped with katsu sauce, cabbage, and mayonnaise, and can be found across the “bread”th of Japan.
Fruit Sandwich: Fruits Sando
Not to be left out, dessert sandwiches can be found in the form of the fruit sandwich, or fruits sando, which contain large pieces of fruit and a luxurious amount of whipped cream nestled between two soft pieces of shokupan. Best of all, these sandwiches are displayed beautifully, cut in half to display the gorgeous fruit.
Regardless of the sando you choose, you will not be disappointed!
About the author:
Michael is originally from Chicago, IL in the United States, but has lived in Japan for seven years in Niigata and Hokkaido. He is an avid home chef, baker, and coffee enthusiast, but his one true love is ramen. Ever in pursuit of the perfect bowl of noodles, you can always find him by listening for the tell-tale slurp of ramen being enjoyed!