As the bacon butty is crowned Britain's best-loved sandwich, Telegraph writers pick their favourites

Egg mayo and sausage round off the top three in a new survey, but our writers are flying the flag for BLT, peanut butter and fish fingers

Bacon butty 
The bacon butty has dethroned the cheese sandwich as the nation's favourite Credit: PA/Anthony Devlin

One of the first pieces of food writing I ever did, for a (criminally) ignored food blog, was about sandwiches. In those heady pre-journalism school days, before I learnt to structure a sentence, I extolled the many virtues of what I maintain to be the single greatest food invention. 

A great sandwich is better, more memorable, than any other dish. Whether a novel concept on holiday, a childhood classic or your daily lunch, sandwiches are ritualistic, comforting, nourishing, nostalgic. 

Everyone will have a formula: it could be single-ingredient or a carefully curated montage. You might prefer something sweet or savoury, hot or cold, crusty or soft bread – maybe even a wrap. Greens may be added to give a veneer of health, or perhaps out of genuine will, as they provide texture, freshness and contrast. A tart counterpoint like a gherkin, sundried tomato, pickle or a condiment, is often necessary. 

Yet there is a sandwich paradox: 90 per cent of the time, they will be entirely unmemorable. Of course, they suffer from familiarity fatigue – over half of Britons eat a sandwich a day, according to one survey. However, there's another issue: most sandwiches, particularly pre-prepared supermarket offerings, are, put simply, crap. Floppy, greying bacon and leaching tomato in an ice-cold BLT; tuna that tastes more of tin than fish; sulphurous egg. Falafel that crumbles quicker than your appetite. 

A recent poll by Warbutons of 2,000 British adults has ascertained our favourite sandwich, and it's no surprise what comes up trumps: the bacon butty, which has overtaken plain cheese from a similar study in 2018.

The bacon sandwich has several regional names, reflecting its nationwide appeal, but, whether yours is a simple bacon-only version, or doused in a favoured condiment (HP, surely), the bacon butty is a classic. It even has the power to end political hopes

There's nothing the Telegraph Food team likes to discuss more than sandwiches, so we asked each writer for their favourite. There were no votes for the bacon butty, but egg mayo (which came second in the survey) was a popular choice. Here are our favourites, tell us yours in the comments below. 

Diana Henry, Stella cookery columnist 

Egg mayo 

I’d love to tell you that my favourite sandwich is something niche and interesting – serious food lovers will tell you how much they enjoy the spleen sandwich you can buy at the food market in Palermo – but egg mayonnaise is the sandwich I buy and make more than any other.

Sandwiches connect us to our childhood and we always had egg sandwiches on picnics. They’re also comfortingly bland and creamy. I make a grownup version now which is richer – and less bland - with warm hardboiled eggs (their temperature is very important) cold Hellman’s, lots of black pepper and chopped spring onions. 

Xanthe Clay, Telegraph Food columnist

Bánh mì

Credit: Andrew Crowley 

My favourite sarnie by far is the Vietnamese classic, the bánh mì. It’s based on a white baguette, a relic of French Colonialism, but an ultra-light, super crisp version – none of your chewy rustic sourdough here.

Inside there’s generally some meat, lemongrass scented meatballs maybe, or sliced sausage, and usually a hefty wedge of pork pate. Then chilli sauce, mayonnaise, coriander and the essential pickled veg, including carrots, onions, and fat Asian radish. The result is a glorious cacophony of crunchy, soft, sour, savoury, spicy. Bliss in a bun. (It’s ideal for a socially distanced picnic in the park and my recipe is in the paper on Sunday.)

Stephen Harris, Telegraph Food columnist

Fish finger 

My favourite is the fish finger sandwich with ketchup and, if available, tartare sauce. I like it on wholemeal bread with a lot of cold butter and the fish fingers still warm so that the butter starts to melt into the ketchup.

When we opened the Sportsman in 1999 we were going to put them on the bar menu but we never had the chance as people wanted something more than fish finger sandwiches – but I still love them.

William Sitwell, Telegraph Magazine restaurant critic

Egg mayo 

My favourite would be an egg mayo sandwich, made with our own fresh hens’ eggs, hard boiled but only just, so there’s still a smidgeon of give in the yolk. Mixed with mayonnaise, Maldon salt and cracked black pepper and served in crusty bread, so you get some crunch of the crust with the soft filling. Oh, and I’ll have a glass of cold Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet while I am at it, to savour the moment and refresh me after the exhaustion of all that endeavour.

Kathryn Flett, Sunday Telegraph restaurant critic 

Peanut butter and banana toastie 

There are plenty of occasions when a bacon butty really can’t be beaten (see also ‘Best Use of a Bloody Mary’), but if it became my lockdown staple I’d be... well, how shall put it? Even more robustly-scaled.

I’m a fan of a BLT (that single tomato slice and lone lettuce leaf make all the difference to one’s waistline), a triple-decker Club remains the room-service (remember that?...) default and I’m never not ready for a tuna mayo on wholewheat. Yet even as I’m virtuously smearing hummus onto rice cakes, I’m hankering for my mate Maria’s current family comfort-eating treat: a peanut butter and banana toastie. Yum.

Keith Miller, Sunday Telegraph restaurant critic 

Cured meat and cheese 

The Ur-sandwich for me isn't the squidgy, sat-upon triangles of sliced white, clamped either side of a slippery puck of supermarket ham, that I remember from childhood; it isn't the overthought and (with the honourable exception of the jambon beurre) overgunged offerings of my habitual workday lunch supplier, Pret a Manger; it isn't the baroque confections currently being posted on social media under the hashtag #lockdownsandwich, which you'd be ill-advised to attempt to eat without PPE; it isn't even the wonderful rolls loaded up with suckling pig, tripe etc served at I Fratellini and other storied paninerie in Florence, epicentre of sandwich-making as it is of every other art form.

It's the kind of utterly basic, unimproveably delicious sandwich I used to eat at work or on holiday in southern Italy, by the sea or near a dusty archaological site: a nice open-textured roll featuring some apposite mixture of cured meat and local cheese (perhaps cooked ham and provolone, Parma-type ham and very fresh Campanian mozzarella or bresaola and fontina), a couple of tough, perfumed rocket leaves and a little zigzag of olive oil.

Madeleine Howell, Telegraph Food writer

Coronation chicken

Credit: Andrew Crowley

Shredded chicken coated in mayo, curry powder, cinnamon, mango chutney and sultanas – coronation chicken sandwiches should be wrong, so why are they so right? First conceived in 1953 by Le Cordon Bleu chef Rosemary Hume for the Queen’s coronation, it’s a nostalgic childhood favourite for using up leftover roast chicken that I don’t return to often enough.

Now, though, with more time at home to roast said chicken and socially distant picnicking taking the place of restaurant dining, I’m looking forward to concocting them more often.

Morgan Lawrence, Telegraph Food writer and lifestyle assistant 

BLT 

The BLT has a bad reputation. It's understandable, as supermarkets have offered the same sad version – undercooked bacon, fridge-cold tomatoes (a sin, according to Telegraph writer Angela Hartnett) limp lettuce and soggy bread – since the launch of the on-the-go section.

But I implore you to reconsider this misunderstood lunchtime treat; when a BLT is made at home it is the best sandwich on earth. Nothing can beat the heavenly combination of properly crusty baguette, flaky when you cut it, slathered with salted butter and a thin layer of mayonnaise (homemade, if you're feeling fancy) crisp bacon and salted tomatoes, laid out in the sun for 30 minutes beforehand (an Italian trick) and crisp baby gem.

The first bite is a mixture of sweet, fat and salt – and is everything that's good about food. It's time for a revival of the BLT this summer: Make your own and you'll never go back to shop-bought stuff.  

Pip Sloan, Telegraph Food writer and assistant editor 

Depends on the occasion... 

My sandwich preference is entirely site-specific. Sitting in a pub beer garden with a pint (we can dream), it's a fish finger sandwich on thickly-cut granary, with homemade tartar sauce and a lemon wedge. On holiday, it's a chewy, crusty roll from the local supermarket, thickly adorned with unsalted butter and filled with thick-cut ham and Ruffles salted crisps (my favourite childhood lunch when we visited my grandad, who lived in Portugal – always eaten with chocolate milk in a glass bottle).

A mention has to go to the Christmas dinner sarnie; a torn piece of baguette, mayo mixed with a little leftover gravy, turkey, stuffing, parsnips and a thinly sliced gherkin. And at home? You can't beat a fried egg sarnie with a palette of sauces for dipping. 

Jack Rear, Telegraph Food writer

Jam sandwich 

Keep your crispy fresh lettuce, your prosciutto, your pretentious accoutrements – for me, the only sandwich filling worth my time is jam. Well, if gin can have a renaissance, why not jam?

Look hard enough and you'll find some thrilling jams artisans out there; Duerr's is my current favourite, specifically its strawberry and elderflower conserve – nostalgic but with a grown-up twist. That’s what jam sandwiches are all about: in a dreary world, they’re a little sugary pick-me-up to carry us through the day.

Tomé Morrissy-Swan, Telegraph Food writer 

Falafel 

Credit: Rii Schroer

Fried egg with too much butter in a piping hot ciabatta takes me back to childhood. Italian salami with a vaguely mountain-y cheese and fresh dressed leaves in a crunchy roll. Salt beef in rye at Katz. Any ham and cheese toastie. Fried egg with too much... back to the beginning. 

But my absolute favourite? Well, I'll have to stretch the dictionary definition of two pieces of bread (does a baguette therefore not count?) – in my mind it's too rigid, anyway. I yearn for a falafel wrap almost every day. 

The best I've had was in Jerusalem. Crucially, the falafel must be freshly prepared and steaming hot, crunchy crust belying the softness within. A generous pouring of tahini, crunchy chopped salad and punchy, wince-inducing pickles. Hot sauce, but not too much. Some garlic will loiter in the background. It'll be housed in hot, puffy pittas or, more likely in Britain, a soft, malleable wrap. I don't mind, it's all heaven to me.