Num Pang has become a New York darling since its opening in 2009, right at the beginning of the rise of banh mi, the Vietnamese sandwich. A “Num Pang” is its Cambodian cousin, made with a protein base, cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro, and its signature chili mayo.
Recently, Num Pang introduced a new avocado sandwich on quinoa bread, called Avocado Pang. As a vegetarian in an omnivore’s world, I was excited that the spotlight was on me and my fellow plant lovers.
The Avocado Pang was smashing. Once you work your mouth around the large, messy sandwich, an initial spiciness hits you. It’s a mild spice, a savory-smooth conglomerate from the soy chili and chili peppers. The spice soon gives way to the texture of the crunch from the bread and veggies seamlessly married to the creaminess of the avocado.
The flavor of the avocado is picked up with mustard seeds and lime. Add to that the cucumber, carrots, and cilantro, the result is savory and zesty all at once. Before you know it, the spiciness hits again, a bit stronger this time.
As for the quinoa bread, the taste is relatively straightforward. It tastes like bread, maybe a little more flour-y than normal. If you’ve ever made homemade bread, you know the flavor. That said, the flavors of the fillings are what predominate here.
The Avocado Pang is available seasonally for $8.75 at all Num Pang locations. All the vegetarian menu items are also served on quinoa bread.