Saturday, May 16, 2009

num pang, banh mi. asia dog.

I gripe a lot about not liking vegetarian sandwiches with their days-old roasted eggplants and slimy zucchini slices and bread pink with red pepper. I thought I would never eat a sandwich again after years of this, until I got into the idea of finding banh mi.

Then I read two articles about the banh mi craze, and found some answers.

On a very hot recent Sunday, we went to Num Pang near Union Square to have the peppered catfish (pictured) and pork. My catfish choice was the best - spicy and peppery and sweet and concentrated and briny and all that cilantro.

We were hooked.

When our movie at the cinema across the street burnt out the following weekend, we grabbed the sandwiches and sat upstairs to enjoy as we spied on the goings on at the theater - have they fixed the film? Were those people in the movie with us? Do people still look angry? and we finished our sandwiches and corn covered in spice, chipotle mayo and coconut.

Today I found myself at Brooklyn Flea picking up a lost earring from a fabulous jeweler.
Liam and I split ways after the greenmarket so I was cruising the aisles alone and figured I'd snack before I took off. Red Hook pupusas weren't up yet, so I passed along until I saw asiadog. All kinds of hot dogs covered in all kinds of asian toppings. Brilliantly difficult to choose, so I went with the Vinh - a banh mi topping-ed veggie dog.

The Smart Dog (my personal favorite for veggie dogs - it doesn't have that liquid smokey flavor of Tofu Pups) was charred and then popped into a toasted bun with veggie 'pate,' pickled daikon and carrot, jalapenos, cilantro, and my own squirt of sri acha sauce. It burned deliciously. I can't believe no one has thought of this before?!

My faith in sandwiches (and veggie dogs) has returned.

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