For all the fans of Cambodian cuisine in New York, your options have been limited. Very limited — Kampuchea was the only game in town. But chef-owner Ratha Chau has heard your yearning and complied by opening another restaurant near Union Square. While Kampuchea is a proper restaurant — with table service, signature cocktails and large windows facing the street to create an airy space and envy from passers-by — the new place, Num Pang, is a sidewalk sandwich counter with stools in a dark graffiti’d room upstairs.
Num Pang focuses on the sandwiches — and the justifiably adored grilled corn, slathered with heady chili powder, coconut flakes and siracha mayo. The sandwiches themselves are close cousins to the Vietnamese bahn mi, utilizing the same style (but of higher quality, from Parisi Bakery) of soft mini baguette. And the sandwich menus are virtually identical — except for the price (and the headcheese terrine at Kampuchea, which I’m guessing they did not think would appeal to 19-year-old NYU students).