Beijing's best sandwiches

We've found the upper crust of the city's sarnies

Stay carby, Beijing. Whether you call it a sammie, sarnie or sanger, the humble sandwich is infinitely riffable, offering an endless variety of both fillings and choice of bread. It's the greatest invention long before sliced bread – and we've found the city's best.
Ham & cheese toastie

Ham & cheese toastie

Hotpress, 35RMB (small); 50RMB (large)


Subway aside, dedicated sandwich joints are few in the capital, so we're big fans of Sanlitun’s Hotpress and its refreshingly limited menu, from which its well-considered cheese toasties are a standout. This one sees chunks of smoked ham, a mix of two cheddars and a harder cheese pressed and toasted between rye bread, but it's the light spreading of an awesome homemade apple jam that really elevates it. A delectable toastie that's comforting without being too OTT. 

Also try The sliced tuna fillet with wasabi mayo, on wholegrain sub (40RMB). 

Image: Hotpress

Prosciutto, pesto, artichoke & sundried tomato

Prosciutto, pesto, artichoke & sundried tomato

Baker & Spice, 56RMB


Be careful who you call ugly in high school. That rubbery packed-lunch ham sandwich? This is what it looks like now – an adult sandwich if ever there were such a thing, as two slices of a seedy bloomer are filled with the mature flavours of preserved artichoke and sundried tomatoes, alongside the cured, greasy wonder that is prosciutto. Cheese fiends may decry the absence of formaggio in this Italian job, but this is already one rich sandwich, and a bloody good one at that.

Also try The chicken curry & bacon bloomer (58RMB).

Reuben sandwich

Reuben sandwich

3 Little Pigs, 65RMB; 100RMB (double meat)


It can be rare to find a hot, hearty sanger in Beijing, even rarer to find one with housemade, New York deli-style cured meat. But that’s exactly the case with the Reuben at hutong hole-in-the-wall 3 Little Pigs. The brainchild of Andy Horowitz (of Andy’s Craft Sausages fame), this meat-laden opus sings with corned beef and zingy sauerkraut (both made in-house) piled high on toothsome rye bread. For the particularly carnivorous, there’s the option of double meat, for what’s possibly one of the most gut- and wallet-busting sandwiches in Beijing. 

Also try The pleasingly sleazy pulled pork, egg and cheese bap (60RMB). 

Image: 3 Little Pigs

Gertz club sandwich

Gertz club sandwich

Gertz Danish Bakery, 56RMB


In a land where bread can so frequently disappoint, the team at Gertz have spoilt us by bringing generations of carb-craft to our shores from their Danish family bakery. We're frankly delighted they're here, and their Scandi take on the classic club is equally pleasing. Its lightly fried, buttery bread is delicate, but what lies between is less so; a well-sized chicken breast fillet, fried egg, a thick bacon rasher and the LT to its B make for a big, tasty mouthful, crowned by an excellent mustard. 

Also try The range of Danish open-faced sandwiches on dark rye (from 28RMB). 

Pork banh mi

Pork banh mi

Rollbox, 42RMB


In what’s proof that a good sandwich traverses all cultural and geographic barriers, Rollbox's pork banh mi takes a crunchy, yet airy, French baguette smeared with pâté and layers it with pork slices, pickled daikon and carrot, then tops it with the requisite coriander and chilli to create Vietnam's quintessential and much-loved sandwich. A refreshing, flavour-filled example of the simple, yet immeasurable, pleasures of a sandwich made with fresh bread and even fresher fillings. 

Also try The bacon and egg breakfast roll (35RMB). 

Image: Rollbox

The 'Meatball' sub

The 'Meatball' sub

Root Pop, 45RMB 


If you're someone who views meat substitutes with a healthy dose of suspicion, then vegan café Root Pop's 'meatball' sub may be the perfect plant-based antidote to that. Featuring tempeh mushroom 'meatballs', pickles, cashew mozzarella, sesame parmesan and a generous smothering of marinara sauce, this sub may be a fungus in pig’s clothing, but its flavours pack a decided punch – there’s no insipid rabbit food here. 

Also try The mushroom-based Philly cheese sub (45RMB). 

Eggplant zucchini parmesan

Eggplant zucchini parmesan

Great Leap Brewing #45, 45RMB with fries  


That's aubergine and courgette to the Brits out there, though whatever variant of English you speak, and whether you're resolute veggie or full-blooded carnivore, this one is a triumph of a sandwich. Layers of eggplant and zucchini – given the same spicing and fried treatment as GLB's exceedingly good fried chicken – pack into a crisp baguette with a tasty marriage of pesto and mayo, plus toms and a few rocket leaves for healthy measure. It's served with a marinara for even more saucing, on your terms. 

Also try The infamously naughty cheeseburger (65RMB) – it's sandwich-adjacent, right?

Image: Great Leap Brewing

Wagyu steak baguette

Wagyu steak baguette

Village Café, 88RMB with side salad  


Spending close to 100RMB on a sandwich might raise eyebrows in some circles, but when steak's involved, you’re heading somewhere towards a bargain. When it's this darn good, there are no question marks. An ultra-fresh baguette clasps a generous portion of juicy, tender beef – rest assured it won't be dragged out whole by your first bite – matched with mushrooms and rocket, and all on the delicious receiving end of a tag-teaming from mayo and an onion jam. The epitome of rich, and quite possibly our MVP. 

Also try The tandoori chicken pita (78RMB) – a rule breaker, to be sure, but a welcome one. 

Chicken salad sandwich

Chicken salad sandwich

Jing A, 60RMB with fries  


Grapes – in a sandwich? They said it couldn't be done, but Jing A did it, and you better believe it's delicious. Red round ones act as ambassador to salad in this creation, adding a pleasant juicy burst but, despite the name, it's undeniably a sandwich. Filled with generous chunks of tender chicken, it's lathered in a parsley-blended mayonnaise, coming together for a terrific handful. Good as lunch, brunch or beery midnight snack. 

Also try The BBQ brisket sandwich (70RMB). 

Image: Jing A

Comments