Savory? Check. Sweet? Check. AND spicy? Triple check.
If you want a sandwich packed with an explosion of flavor, you must try Num Pang Sandwich Shop in New York City. I had been eyeing this Cambodian sandwich shop for months, and last night I was finally able to check it out. My friend and I met up after work at the Hell’s Kitchen location. After weaving around the usual crowds in Times Square (actually much more difficult than it sounds), I was ready for a delicious sandwich.
The little restaurant was decorated in a somewhat hipster style, with chalk drawings and graffiti art covering the walls. The menu was short but offered items covering a wide range of tastes, from barbecue to seafood to vegetarian options. I ordered the five-spice pork belly sandwich. The counter had a big basket filled with little tubs of sriracha…this was my kind of place. I grabbed a few and we sat down with our sandwiches. The bread looked crispy and golden, with a generous portion of filling in between. My friend ordered the ginger barbecue brisket sandwich.
I was a little skeptical of the pork and pear combo, but after I took a few bites I was surprised at how well the flavors worked together. The pork was juicy and rich, while the thin slices of pear provided a refreshing amount of sweetness and crunch. While the bread looked like it would be the kind to hurt your mouth with its firm crust, the inside was actually quite soft. It soaked up the sauce nicely without getting too soggy. Though the sauce gave each bite a kick of spiciness, I still had to add my sriracha… but maybe that’s just me.
I actually thought there was too much sauce in the sandwich, making it a little too sweet and a mess to eat. My friend’s sandwich seemed to have a similar issue. When we were done eating, both our trays were stacked with our crumpled up napkins. “Definitely not a good first-date place,” we concluded. “Unless you want to look unflattering while you eat!”
Overall, Num Pang is an excellent place to eat for a quick meal or lunch break. This is definitely not your typical boring sandwich joint – be sure to be up for something more exotic if you come here! I definitely want to go back and try their other sandwich combos. There’s a coconut tiger shrimp and a Chinese cauliflower one that I’m very curious about, so I definitely anticipate being back at Num Pang soon!