Andrea and I finally made it to Num Pang for lunch last week. When we arrived around 1:00 there was not much of a line but when we left a few minutes later with our sandwiches it was more crowded. The Cambodian sandwich store is adorned in graffiti which reminded me of my own trip to Southeast Asia, in particular my time spent in Vang Vieng, Laos, a tiny town unfortunately mutated to accommodate travel-tragedies and drunk Canadians. A happy memory nonetheless.
Andrea and I both went with sandwiches from the seasonal specials menu. I had the Five Spice-Glazed Pork Belly with pickled Asian pear and Andrea went with the Grilled Spanish Mackerel with Leeks and Thai-basil infused olive oil. All sandwiches are served with pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro and chili mayo on special little toasted rolls. Both of our sandwiches were ready within 10 minutes and we headed back to Bryant Park to enjoy our feast. I was surprised when I opened the container and my eyes were met with a huge slab of tender, glazed pork belly, preventing the roll from sitting evenly or fitting in my mouth. Besides being messy, this was like one of the best sandwiches ever. Andrea shared my emotion about her own. Our only regret was not grabbing napkins. The roll looks small but this is filling, trust me.
Num Pang is scheduled to grace Brooklyn with its presence at the Great GoogaMooga festival later this month, and I will definitely be hitting their stand hard. I'd like to try the Grilled Khmer Sausage or Hoisin Veal Meatballs.
Num Pang: 140 E. 41st St, between Lex and 3rd, with an additional location in Union Sq. (212) 867-8889