With over 44,000 stores in 112 countries, there’s no doubt that Subway is the largest fast food sandwich chain in the world. When it comes to the number of locations available, the United States and Canada are by far the leaders with over 30,000 stores between them. Additional locations can also be found across the Caribbean in countries such as Jamaica and Barbados and in small European countries such as Malta and Kosovo. There may only be one or two stores in each country, but they’re there.
For the most part, North American taste buds are more accustomed to standard Subway offerings such as steak and cheese, grilled chicken, meatballs or even tuna. But the restaurant chain has stretched its menu to include new options such as pulled pork and butter chicken. International franchises cater to local demographics and tastes, which explains the wide variety of menu items available in other countries. In catering to local tastes, the results are often food combinations that aren’t typically paired together in North America. Forget about the weird topping combinations some customers ask for, Subway takes the lead and offers unique flavorings for a limited time to test customer uptake. Here are just a few examples of subs that are offered internationally and stand out from North American options.
10. Japan – Sausage with Barbecue Sauce
Released in 2013, this “sub” was basically a sausage in a bun. If you’ve ever wondered what a hotdog from Subway would be like, this was the answer to that question. Which begs the question: “Why not just buy a hotdog?” Why go to a restaurant specializing in sub sandwiches to get your hotdog fix? Like all Subway sandwiches, diners could choose from Subway’s standard list of toppings as well as any bread of their choice. With all of these added vegetables, makes you wonder just how appetizing this sub was. Thankfully the sandwich was only offered for a limited time, likely to coincide with summer barbecue season. Before you ask, yes, barbecue in Japan is actually a big deal.
9. Brazil – Smoked Chicken Salad and Cream Cheese
When you think of chicken salad, you think of mayonnaise, right? Subway restaurants located in Brazil have taken this concept and turned it on its head. This surprisingly popular menu item uses cream cheese instead of mayonnaise to mix in its chicken salad. An interesting substitute considering mayonnaise is usually replaced by sour cream or yogurt. The result of this particular swap is a savory and tasty option that provides an alternative to the egg-based condiment. Throw on a selection of vegetables to this sandwich and it becomes super healthy. Prepare to feel full after biting into this sub.
8. India – Potato and Herbs
India, the country of herbs and spices, serves up a variety of meal options popular around the world. Think butter chicken or vegetable biryani. When it comes to subs, aloo patty, which is basically fried mashed potatoes seasoned with spices, can be found of their menus. The combination of potatoes and bread is sure to be filling considering the amount of carbs in this sub. Still, might it be worth trying. India is known for its flavorful dishes and this sub may take a little getting used to but likely won’t disappoint taste buds.
7. India – Corn and Peas
You’d think this festive option originated in South America but it’s actually become quite popular in India. It’s a mix of corn, peas and carrots blended together with a special eggless mayonnaise. In addition to the standard sub toppings, this is a healthy vegetarian option that’s sure to satisfy your taste buds. This is a unique sub due in part to the vegetables used to create it. When’s the last time you had corn, peas and carrots on a piece of bread? Definitely has the health benefits in its court, but also very different from the conventional vegetarian option.
6. Saudi Arabia – Halloumi
You’re asking, “What’s Halloumi?” The answer is it’s a cheese from Cyprus but is also available in Saudi Arabia, Greece and Turkey. It’s made of a combination of sheep and goat’s milk and because of its high melting point, it’s perfect for grilling and frying. No oozing mess with this sandwich. It’s a healthy option but is basically just a cheese sandwich with vegetables added. As for taste, goat’s milk is somewhat tangy while sheep’s milk is buttery. Mixed together they likely result in a flavor that’s not too far off from cow’s milk but different enough to provide something that’s enjoyable.
5. Australia – Schnitzel and Slaw
When schnitzel’s mentioned, Austria or Germany usually come to mind, not Australia. The Schnitzel and Slaw sandwich is a cabbage slaw served with breaded and seasoned fried pork…on bread. Folks probably pass on the added vegetable toppings since this would no doubt take away from the intended flavoring. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately if you enjoy these kinds of food combinations, the sandwich was only offered for a limited amount of time. Again, this is another filling option with the fried meat, but depending on what’s used in the slaw it might be a somewhat healthy option.
4. Japan – Shrimp and Broccoli
Shrimp and broccoli are great on their own or when combined in a stir-fry, but this option takes this pairing to a new level by offering them in sandwich form. Makes you wonder if the broccoli is cooked or raw. If served raw, this makes for a very crunchy sandwich. If you’re ever in Japan and feeling a little adventurous, consider the shrimp melt version which also comes with cheese mixed with a variety of other vegetables. There’s even another shrimp option which includes shrimp and mashed avocado. The possibilities seem endless when shrimp is on the menu! The variety of food textures and flavors would take some getting used to though.
3. Japan – Bacon, Potato and Anchovy Sauce
Japan rivals India when is comes to the variety of sandwich options it provides. The Bacon, Potato and Anchovy sauce option is an interesting mix of flavors not typically found together. This sandwich not only lacks nutritional value, it’s confusing to taste buds. When compared to the shrimp and broccoli option it’s clear to see why the bacon, potato and anchovy sauce option is no longer available while the various shrimp combinations still are. Adding the standard selection of vegetables to this sub would add to taste bud confusion, lots of different flavors in one sandwich is not always a good thing.
2. Japan – Spanish Omelette
In Japan’s defense, Subway has launched breakfast options in many countries, but the Spanish Omelette option was on their lunch menu. It’s made with eggs and potatoes and like all Spanish omelettes can be thick and heavy. Adding this combination to bread makes for a heavy lunch (this seems to be a trend with international sandwich offerings). On the positive side, the flavor combination seems more manageable and may actually be satisfying. But again, bread and potatoes added together are unique to international Subway restaurants but are new to North American restaurants.
1. Poland – Fiesta Mexicana
You may be surprised to find this option in Poland because the name would imply a Spanish or Mexican influence. However, Poland has adopted this festive sandwich. Ingredients such as grilled chicken, corn, black beans, onions, peppers and cheese (all served on flat bread) create a healthy and flavorful meal. Nevertheless, this is a standard option on Polish menus. Coincidentally, Fiesta Mexicana is also a Mexican restaurant chain with multiple locations across the States. Before you ask, there are several menu items that use the same ingredients as this sub. Makes sense when served with nachos but an interesting combination when served in a sub.