It’s been more than four years since the first Num Pang opened its rather ramshackle sandwich spot near Union Square, introducing most of us the wonders of Cambodian street food. Sure, we’d all been wolfing down Vietnamese sandwiches for awhile–this was the height of Bahn Mi craze–but Num Pang offered a remarkable variety of explosively flavored Cambodian counterparts. I went to the Union Square Num Pang within a few days of its opening, when lines ran down the block and it was almost impossible to get a seat in the hilariously cramped upstairs dining area, and have been a regular visitor ever since. Because even though the initial hype has subsided, Num Pang remains an excellent cheap-eats option.
Num Pang Now Has 4 Locations to Choose From
In addition to the original Num Pang on 12th Street just west of University Place, there’s now a Num Pang near Grand Central; there’s one just north of Madison Square Park, on 26th Street (below); and just last week the Num Pang Chelsea Market (pictured at top) starting slinging sandwiches to the hordes of tourists and and media/tech-company workers who have taken over that part of town. All four locations serve the core Num Pang menu of sandwiches and sides, as well as a similar slate of seasonal specialties, but there are exclusive offerings at each location as well. The NoMad Num Pang, for example, has a number of noodle and rice bowls, and you can choose from two new sandwiches at the Chelsea Market Num Pang, one roast beef with coriander and turnips, another featuring the Num Pang take on chicken salad.
Sandwiches Rule at Num Pang, Along with Good Sides
I’ve never had a bad sandwich at Num Pang–they’re all wonderfully messy, well-balanced, totally satisfying–but my long-time favorites include the Hoisin Meatball, the Coconut Tiger Shrimp, the Glazed Pork Belly, the Peppercorn Catfish, and the Pulled Duroc Pork. So, basically, most of the menu. I also almost always get a Grilled Corn on the Cob, which will remind you of the Cuban beauty you can get at, say, Cafe Habana, but in addition to a hefty slather of chili mayo, the Num Pang version comes with a generous sprinkling of coconut flakes. The side of Market Pickles is a good bet here as well. So I’m grateful for Num Pang’s expansion, well on its way to becoming one of those mini-empires that ensures that we New Yorkers always have ready access to first-rate, freshly-made fast food without having to fall back on the gross national chains.
The Num Pang Menu Does Vary Slightly by Location
For all Num Pang menus, locations, hours, and online ordering for delivery, check out their website.