Were there not a line of hungry and loyal customers waiting in front of Num Pang Sandwich Shop’s window, you might easily pass by this little Cambodian eatery by Union Square. When it opened, it certifiably doubled the number of Cambodian restaurants in New York City. In fact, it’s a spin-off of Kampuchea on the Lower East Side.
This two-story eatery is very tiny and compact. The first level houses the kitchen, where waves of heat and alluring smell permeate, and a narrow spiral staircase that leads to the second level.
Approximately fifteen seats are available there, additional with a high standing table. Stretch across the walls are iron framed windows splashed with watercolor paint.
It’s a little bit gloomy and shabby, yet intimate, and feel at home.
Num Pang is a traditional Cambodian-style sandwich, and the word itself means “sandwich” in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. Usually based with toasted baguette, the eatery makes its own brand with five additional ingredients: julienned pickled carrots, cucumbers, chile mayo and cilantro.
The well-known pulled Duroc pork absolutely deserves its reputation, not only for the overwhelming amount of moist and chewy pork, but also for the perfect balance and harmony achieved between ingredients. Every component takes turn showing its charm in your mouth: the tenderness and juiciness of the warm pulled pork, the gingery sweetness of the spiced honey, the surprising acidity of the pickled carrots and the crunchiness of two well-toasted semolina baguettes. Yet amazingly, with the help of chili mayo, everything melts. Like a spark, the mayo lights up the taste of these ingredients without suffocating the delicacy and freshness of them. Don’t be afraid to get messy; just enjoy! One of our favorite parts of this sandwich is the greasy-pork-smeared bottom baguette. While the juice of pulled pork unreservedly fuses with the inner side of the baguette, the other side still keeps crispy and chewy.
Another popular sandwich, coconut tiger shrimp, will also satiate your taste buds. Coconut milk tossed and grilled, the juicy and jumbo shrimp are al dente and like other sandwiches in Num Pang, work perfectly with other ingredients.
The eatery serves more than 14 types of sandwiches and also traditional Cambodian soups and sides. Extraordinary taste and wide selection, no more reason needed. Prepare your cash (Num Pang is cash only) and treat yourself a mouthful of contentment before returning to real life.