New Orleans' best sandwiches: So much more than meat and bread

Alex Woodward, for CNNUpdated 10th April 2015
One could easily spend their entire New Orleans visit feasting on bread-wrapped delicacies. Pictured here is a banh mi from Dong Phuong Bakery.
Editor's Note — This story, and several others on New Orleans, complement the CNNGo TV series. See more of the show here:
(CNN) — Every city deserves to have a good sandwich.
They're timeless -- not much has or will change when you're talking about meat and cheese between slices of bread.
They're affordable, so no matter the part of town you're from or where you went to school, sandwiches are a common ground an entire city can rally behind.
Nowhere else is sandwich pride more evident than in New Orleans, which claims not one but two great sandwiches: the po-boy and the muffuletta.
They also act as a kind of edible tour -- there's a lot of history packed between two slices of bread (even in the bread itself).
Here's a look at some of the best sandwiches New Orleans has to offer and where to find them.

Muffuletta from Cochon Butcher

World's best sandwich? This beauty is definitely a contender. A muffuletta from Cochon Butcher.
World's best sandwich? This beauty is definitely a contender. A muffuletta from Cochon Butcher.
Cochon Butcher
Muffulettas require a thick stack of Italian meats and cheeses topped with olive salad, all inside a round, focaccia-like seeded loaf.
Italian immigrant vendors invented the sandwich at the turn of the century and it moved from carts to standalone delis (most famously, Central Grocery, established in 1906).
There is a short list of places you can get a quality muffuletta.
Cochon Butcher, a deli-inspired Cochon Restaurant spinoff, takes the muff up a notch with house-cured meats.
Though some muffulettas are served cold, at Cochon Butcher the bread is toasted and the meats are warm, held together with a generous spread of house-made, slightly briny and bright olive salad.
Cochon Butcher, 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, Louisiana; +1 504 588 7675

Surf-and-turf po-boy from Parkway Bakery

Parkway's surf and turf po-boy.
Parkway's surf and turf po-boy.
Alex Woodward
The po-boy began as streetcar striker fare in the 1920s, when humble sandwiches were filled with French fries and leftover gravy.
The bread has almost always been the same.
A handful of local bakeries specialize in New Orleans French bread -- long loaves with a light, crispy thin crust and a fluffy interior -- and deliver pallets of them to po-boy shop doors each morning.
Without the bread, it's not a po-boy, no matter what anyone says, ever. (Except when you're at R&O's, maybe.)
Parkway's surf and turf assembles two ubiquitous po-boy fillings -- golden fried shrimp and slow-roasted beef -- with a swipe of mayonnaise, a couple of tomato slices and some shredded lettuce.
Parkway Bakery's bread is from Leidenheimer Baking Company, founded a few decades before the po-boy's birth and still the gold standard.
One can avoid Parkway's line (Barack Obama ate there, so now everyone does) by calling ahead to place their order at the bar.
Parkway Bakery, 538 Hagan Ave., New Orleans, Louisiana; +1 504 482 3047

Roast beef po-boy from R&O's

R&O's roast beef po-boy.
R&O's roast beef po-boy.
Just outside city limits along Lake Pontchartrain is this family-friendly dive, where its monster roast beef -- in all its shredded, gravy-coated glory -- is piled high under a seeded (gasp!) po-boy loaf, one of the few exceptions to the bread rule that demands the rule get a second opinion.
R&O's, 216 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie, Louisiana; +1 504 831 1248

Banh mi from Dong Phuong Bakery

Po-boy, Vietnamese style.
Po-boy, Vietnamese style.
Dong Phuong Bakery
Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are often advertised as "Vietnamese po-boys" -- they offer similarly crusty, crumbly bread.
Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans East provides the bread for most of the city's banh mi.
Orders are placed from the opposite side of a small counter.
They cost around $4 and include all the accoutrements (pickled carrot, pate, aioli, cilantro, jalapeno), roasted pork, meatballs and sausage.
A can of coffee and a bean pastry on your way out are a good supplement to an already satisfying meal.
Dong Phuong Bakery, 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans, Louisiana; +1 504 254 0296

Oyster loaf from Casamento's

This 100-year-old uptown diner specializes in oysters.
The joint closes in summertime and opens when oysters are in season (typically, when it's cold -- the rule of thumb is to eat oysters during months that end in "r").
At the bar, shuckers sling and serve them ice-cold, but the restaurant's signature is the oyster loaf -- thick grilled slabs of toast packed with a fistful of cornmeal fried oysters.
Casamento's, 4330 Magazine St., New Orleans, Louisiana; +1 504 895 9761