The standard sandwich: Is there anything more comforting? Whether you brown-bagged a ham and cheese to highschool each day otherwise you grab the identical panini every week at work, sandwiches are the mainstay meal of the on a regular basis. But at home, it’s the flavours we pack between two pieces of bread that make them truly personal bundles of joy. Fill your next one with layers of inspiration from these six mouth-watering masterpieces.
The sandwich: Massaman Sandwich. The maker: Nuit Regular, Kiin, Sukhothai and more
A Massaman Sandwich is that this notable Thai chef’s go-to at home. Nuit Regular, known for bringing Thai cuisine to Toronto, is co-owner and executive chef of PAI Northern Thai Kitchen, Kiin and Sukhothai, to call a number of.
Her sandwich is a Thai tackle the Vietnamese bánh mì wherein Regular loads the bun with butter, toasts it (an air fryer adds convenience: three minutes at 400 F), then adds a smear of liver pâté. The filling consists of what the name suggests: beef shank with massaman, a Thai red curry sauce with coconut milk and peanuts. Sometimes she uses chicken. Regular then tops it off with marble cheese, pickled cucumber, fresh carrot, cilantro, sriracha mayonnaise and crispy fried red shallots. She sometimes adds a pickled olive oil chili mix for her kids.
When asked why she loves the dish a lot, Regular says the flavours are familiar to her. In other words, “the flavour from Thai food: sweet, sour, salty, spicy. It brings out the several dimensions of the sandwich,” she says. That sentiment can be behind each her ambition and success: “immersing the flavours from my homeland into Canada.”
The sandwich: The Sammo Boi Trio. The maker: Dan Hawie, Sammo Boi
Meet the person behind the Sammoboi Instagram account, an ode to a few of Toronto’s best sandwiches: Dan Hawie, director of selling for a record label and native sandwich lover. The Sammo Boi Trio is his tackle the standard cold-cut sub, with key ingredients Hawie swears by.
A fluffy Kaiser roll from Nova Era Bakery in Little Portugal is the primary critical ingredient, the underside bun smeared with mayo to begin. Next, Emmenthal cheese, “straight up,” not grated, which Hawie buys from Cheese Boutique — a spot so adored by him that his wedding cake was made out of its products. “To avoid any sag factor, use two if no more slices on both sides of the bread,” he says.
Deli turkey, honey ham and slices of Hungarian salami make up the meats: all thinly shaved and topped with Louisiana hot sauce. As for the vegetables, Hawie insists on heirloom tomatoes. He tosses shredded iceberg lettuce and thinly sliced red onions in a secret, tangy homemade vinaigrette, courtesy of his wife, adding “a little bit of grit and salt and pepper.” To top all of it off: more cheese and a few yellow ballpark mustard. He pairs the sandwich with a few sweet pickles on the side.
“Where I grew up, in Mississauga, my parents would at all times take me to Mr. Sub, normally after hockey practice. It was a shared interest between me and my brother; we might at all times get a cold-cut sub and go home,” Hawie says. “To at the present time, it’s still something we occasionally do. (The three meats) have at all times felt like comfort food for me.”
The sandwich: Pharaoh’s Po’ Boy. The maker: Monika Wahba, Maha’s Egyptian Brunch
Co-chef and co-owner for eight years at Maha’s Egyptian Brunch on 226 Greenwood Ave., Monika Wahba also competed within the tenth season of “Top Chef Canada” last fall. Identical to the menu at Maha’s, her favourite sandwich to make at house is a “love letter to my childhood in town of Cairo”: Pharaoh’s Po’ Boy.
Wahba starts with a white wheat pita heated up on the gas stove over the open flame, before adding three easy ingredients inside. There’s tahini sauce (a raw sesame paste prepared with garlic, lemon, vinegar, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper), garlic mayonnaise and the pièce de résistance: deep fried shrimp. Wahba says the medium- to small-sized shrimp are marinated in the identical spices present in the tahini sauce with a little bit little bit of chili flakes added, then coated in a flour-water-baking-powder mixture before frying. A touch of fresh parsley on top, a lime wedge on the side and voilà.
Wahba’s love for this sandwich has roots in her childhood. When she was between five and 10 years old, her grandfather would pick her up “in a burnt orange VW Beetle, my favourite thing on the earth,” and they’d head over to a neighborhood sandwich shop in Cairo to enjoy a meal together. “As soon as I’d walk in, the smell would drive me crazy,” she says.
Wahba’s culinary goal in Toronto has been to integrate tastes from Egypt, her childhood home. She credits her mom with encouraging her to recreate the Po’ Boy. “She knew it was my favourite growing up, so once I told her I desired to (put it on Maha’s menu), she did every part to satisfy my deep inner child’s craving.”
The sandwich: Cris’s Deli Sandwich. The maker: Cristobal Bascuñán, Lambo’s Deli & Grocery
Cristobal Bascuñán has been the chef de cuisine at Lambo’s Deli & Grocery, just on the border of Little Italy at 176 Bellwoods Ave., since across the time of its inception in 2020. The chef says his sandwich of alternative is supposed to be easy but phenomenal. And its assembly starts at Tre Mari Bakery on St. Clair West, Bascuñán’s go-to shop for breads, Italian deli meats and cheeses.
At home, his sandwich is layered in a definite order: a pillowy sesame roll cut open and immediately layered with sweet provolone cheese as the bottom so the flavour isn’t lost in the combo. “On top, I delicately fold over some (Genoa salami), abruzzo and prosciutto cotto,” says Bascuñán.
Then follows shredded iceberg lettuce (crisp), sliced tomatoes (sprinkled with salt and pepper), and thinly sliced red or white onions (red is best). A splash of olive oil, red wine vinegar and dried oregano dresses the vegetables. Bascuñán adds chopped giardiniera (pickled vegetable medley) because the completion normally. Slightly little bit of mayonnaise on the highest bun is optional, he says.
As for why it’s layered this fashion, Bascuñán says it comes all the way down to the “ingredients attending to know one another” for a few minutes after he wraps it up. “Should you bite into it immediately, you haven’t given enough time for the vinegars, the oils and the tomato juice to get through the remaining of the sandwich. But you don’t need to wait too long for every part to get wet.”
The sandwich: The Sloppy Gio. The maker: Giovanna Alonzi, Sud Forno
An Italian twist to a Sloppy Joe has been this chef’s pick for years. Dubbed the Sloppy Gio, this sandwich holds a bun-full of nostalgia for Giovanna Alonzi, executive chef at Sud Forno, 132 Yonge St.
Alonzi’s husband, Fabio, also a chef, is from Bologna and continuously makes a classic bolognese sauce at home from scratch. And on his days off, he also makes bread that Alonzi describes as a “cross between a milk bun and a potato bun but has a bit more of a bite” with sesame and poppy seeds on top, glossed with a wealthy egg glaze.
Good bolognese is all in regards to the fat and that fat should rise to the highest, says Alonzi. She cuts the bread in half before dipping it into the bolognese fat (a key step) and toasting it within the oven at 450 C with some crème brie cheese on top to melt. Once the bun is crispy, Alonzi ladles on the bolognese sauce.
“My husband and I might work late on a regular basis. We’ve been together for like 16 years. Ever since Fabio discovered making these buns, he’s made them all the time,” Alonzi recalls. “You never really eat as a chef, you simply are inclined to come home and eat cereal or a sandwich or something.” The convenience of the Sloppy Gio allowed them to create and eat a full meal together once they arrived home at 1 a.m., paired with a Peroni beer.
“This sandwich has a soft spot of nourishment in my heart,” says Alonzi.
The sandwich: Chef’s Selection. The maker: Artin Davoodi, Grandma Loves You
Chef and co-owner of the family-run sandwich shop Grandma Loves You at 1084 Yonge St., Artin Davoodi says his go-to sandwich at house is the Chef’s Selection. He doesn’t make it at home since it’s on the shop’s menu; it landed on the shop’s menu due to how much he made it at home.
The sandwich is an untoasted submarine bun with pesto, sliced avocado, grilled chicken strips, tomato, banana peppers, sliced red onion, black olives and crispy onion. It’s all topped with a secret spicy sauce and a white garlic sauce, each guarded menu secrets. The Chef’s Selection became his and his wife’s favourite when the couple were expecting their second child while living in Germany in 2017, except back then the sandwich didn’t include hot peppers or olives.
“Once you’re pregnant, you’ll be able to’t at all times eat any sandwich,” Davoodi says. “We were wondering what we are able to do after which this got here together.” Davoodi says his kids are too young to yet appreciate ingredients like avocado and pesto, so their picks for now are ham and cheese or meatball cheese sandwiches.
Toronto’s best sandwiches
After they’re not making their very own at home, these are the go-to orders of our sandwich stars
Either the roasted pork loin or carne mechada from Chilean sandwich shop Sandwichito at 930 St. Clair Ave. W.
The smashburger from Blood Brothers Brewing at 165 Geary Ave.
The classic bánh mì with assorted meats from Banh Mi Huy-Ky at 1046 Gerrard St. E.
A pork bánh mì from Banh Mi Ba Le at 538 Dundas St. W.
The pork belly bao from Banh Mi Boys at 392 Queen St. W.
A classic hamburger from Five Guys at 85 Laird Dr.