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The Sandwich: Cambodian “Num Pang” Pork Sandwich
Where: Maketto, 1351 H St. NE
Bread: Baguette from Frenchie’s Artisan Pastries and Desserts
Stuffings: Grilled pork, pickled carrots and radishes, cucumber, jalapeño, basil, cilantro, mayonnaise, pâté
Thickness: 4 inches
Pros: This sandwich comes together like a puzzle with acidic and salty pieces. Pâté and mayonnaise add richness while the crisp, cool veggies refresh each bite. The juicy grilled pork tastes lightly of smoke and remains warm without wilting the veggies piled on top of it.
Cons: Num pang (the Cambodian sibling to the banh mi) will give your mouth a workout. Frenchie’s baguette is a bit tough and slows down the eating process. If the pickled veggies were slightly sweeter, they could help counter the bitterness of the jalapeño, which wipes out every other flavor should you happen upon a super spicy slice.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 2. Kudos to Maketto’s sandwich makers for managing to squeeze all the ingredients, even tiny shreds of carrot, inside the baguette. A bit of meat juice mixes with mayonnaise to create some drippage, but for the most part, this sandwich is mess-free.
Overall score (1 to 5): 4.5. The technical precision of this sandwich suits the setting of Erik Bruner-Yang’s sleek new market and clothing emporium. Sit down in the cafe between the kitchen building in the back and the sneaker display at the front, enjoy a great sandwich, and watch shoppers casually check out the fanciest baseball hats and sweatshirts H Street NE has to offer.
Photo by Caroline Jones