I was hesitant to go to Num Pang Sandwich Shop for a very long time. Although everything looked appetizing and the Yelp reviews checked out, I was scared. I usually don’t like sandwiches with carrots, cucumbers, and mayonnaise. The worst part was that I couldn’t even take off any components of the sandwich, as there was a clear warning on the bottom of the menu stating that no substitutions were allowed.
I bought a steak sandwich, the only extra add-on being crushed coriander and peppercorn; I could live with that. I purchased my sandwich from the 41st street location and walked to Bryant Park. (Mind you, this was last summer.) When I sat down at a table next to a couple of eccentrics, I didn’t know what to expect. I opened the white container and stared at the sandwich. It looked and smelled magnificent. The bread was firm and really held all the components of the sandwich together. I decided to bite the bullet…or well, sandwich. When I took my first bite, I was in sandwich heaven. The heat from the chili mayo went perfectly with the spicy steak, and the cucumber and carrot created a flavor combination that I couldn’t replicate if I tried. It was amazing, and for $11.75, completely worth it.
That first experience was in June, and when I left the country for a month in July, I dreamed about Num Pang. Honestly. Now that I’ve been stateside for awhile, I’ve been able to try many more of their sandwiches. They have all been equally delicious, with the Coconut Tiger Shrimp, Hoisin Meatballs, and 5 Spiced Pork Belly standing out among the crowd. Although Num Pang’s sandwiches are good, the side dishes and drinks are not exactly on par. The grilled corn on the cob is messy, and when eaten side by side with the sandwiches, loses much of its flavor and uniqueness. In terms of drinks, they have the standard fare, but unfortunately, I believe that their specialty lemonade is just not worth it. It had a strange taste, and I prefer their green tea or even plain water as a cool down after their sandwiches.
Overall, Num Pang is completely worth a visit. They have multiple locations throughout the city, and you can visit their website for more information. Although their prices aren’t “cheap” per se, they are definitely fair for the quality of product you receive. For a college student, these sandwiches are a perfect option when you want a high-quality meal for a not-so-high price, and I would recommend this place to anyone looking for some good eats.