Lunch: Num Pang

August 10th, 2009
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Farther afield than even the extended area I’ve been attempting to survey as part of my walking project, Num Pang’s sandwiches are good enough to hop a train for. I was downtown running a couple errands during lunch and took the opportunity to sample the pork belly special.
The sandwich, above, sported meltingly tender pork belly topped with pickled cucumber and rhubarb, shredded carrots and sprigs of cilantro. The flavors and textures fell together magically. The roll, which I worried might be too thick, turned out to fold perfectly with the meet when biting into it.
My only complaint was structural. The pickled rhubarb, simultaneously tangy, tart and sweet, was left in whole stalks, which are rather difficult to bite through. Each bite I struggled to get through it without yanking the entire piece out of the sandwich. If it had been cut up into smaller bits, the logistics of eating the sandwich would have been more convenient.
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Num Pang serves Cambodian sandwiches. They are similar to Vietnamese sandwiches in that they include a good deal of tender pork, stinging spice and tangy pickles, but with wider variations than what I’ve seen at traditional Vietnamese spots. I can’t speak to other Cambodian sandwich shops, Num Pang seems to shine brightest on it’s often changing menu of specials. Of course, it’s regular menu is nothing to write off either.
Num Pang
21 east 12th street, new york, ny 10003
phone: 212.255.3271

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