Even though there’s seating upstairs in the tiny shop, many would prefer to eat their sandwich al fresco.
Num Pang is a sandwich shop whose purpose is to tweak the banh mi formula in unexpected directions. If you go there jonesing for a traditional banh mi, you’ll be sadly disappointed, but many of the sandwiches have an exciting traction all their own. Because chef Ratha Chau was born in Cambodia, some of the sandwiches swing in that direction, tastewise.
Somewhat paradoxically (since many of the selections are relentlessly meaty), my favorite sandwich is the only vegetarian selection on the regular menu.
The roasted cauliflower sandwich at Num Pang is juicy as all get-out.
That sandwich features roasted cauliflower, which is toasty and moist at the same time, matched with pureed eggplant (more moisture), shredded carrots, cilantro, and lenthwise-sliced kirby cuke. A mayo has been generated using soy milk, with a touch of chile added. Though the carrots and cukes aren’t pickled, the whole thing is spectacular anyway, an explosion of flavors that will make you want to return for another roasted cauliflower sandwich the next day. 21 East 12th Street, 212-255-3271
More:Vegetarian and Vegan