Sandwiches are ideal for packing in a lunch box when you’re looking to save money—and who isn’t, these days?

If you’re bored with the same old BLT and PB & J, look beyond borders for fresh inspiration. A little research in your favorite ethnic cookbooks will reward you with great new ideas for breads, fillings, condiments and sandwich-friendly sides.

Instead of mustard, slather spicy Indian chutney on your cheese sandwich. Wrap curried egg or tuna salad in puffy tandoori naan instead of white bread. A drizzle of chimichurri, Argentina’s bold herb salsa, will transform a steak sandwich from All American to South American. If you live in a town with Asian markets, check the shelves for Korean kim chee or Japanese radish pickles, a nice change from the standard cucumber pickles.

We’ve got some additional tips from Kikkoman Kitchens and savvy foodies to give your sandwiches extra appeal: When using sliced meat, fold or crumple it to give a sandwich more visual appeal and satisfying texture. If you don’t have a sandwich press, a cast-iron grill pan works well. After putting the sandwich in the pan, place a weight, such as a light skillet, on top of the sandwich to press it down. When the first side is nicely browned, turn the sandwich over and cook the same way on the second side.

Of course, kids love sandwiches, too! Cut their favorite sandwich into fun-to-eat shapes with a large cookie cutter. Soft bread works best for this. Make grilled cheese sandwiches with grated cheese instead of sliced—the cheese will melt more evenly. Leave butter out to soften so it won’t tear the bread. When it’s spreadable, beat in some Kikkoman Soy Sauce, mustard or chopped fresh herbs for extra flavor. Crusty breads like baguettes and ciabatta can stand up to moist fillings without getting soggy, making them great for sandwiches like the muffaletta and pan bagnat. In Europe, cured meats like serrano ham, prosciutto and salami are popular in sandwiches. Because of their lower moisture and higher salt content, they keep better at room temperature than fresh meat sandwiches, making them ideal for travel or lunch boxes. Spice up back the back to school lunch pail this year—and try bringing one of these delicious sandwiches to the office for a bite of midweek relief!

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