Num Pang

Spicing up lunch in the Financial District, Cambodian-style

By Erik Mathes

The Financial District was long considered a culinary dead space within NYC—much to the chagrin of the thousands of people who spend their days earning a living in lower Manhattan. But all that has changed with the addition of not one, but two Num Pang locations to the area. The Cambodian sandwich shop is the creation of Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz, two friends who met at Clark University in 1994, reconnected in NYC in 2000, and finally decided to collaborate on the first Num Pang, which they opened near Union Square in 2009.

Seven locations later, Num Pang has achieved NYC food-icon status, along with accolades from the likes of Bon Appetit and the Village Voice—a testament to the hustle of the kind of culinary entrepreneurs that makes this city a gourmand’s wonderland.

Sandwich lovers will rejoice at the awesome amount of interesting options here. If you’re looking for something savory and a little bit sweet, try the pulled Duroc pork sandwich with spiced honey; if you prefer something a bit more saucy, opt for the hoisin meatballs sandwich with jasmine rice, basil, and stewed tomatoes on their signature freshly baked semolina flour baguette. If you’re a vegetarian—or you simply crave cauliflower madly—order the roasted cauliflower sandwich with Chinese and Thai eggplant spread and chile-soy glaze. All of the sandwiches come fully dressed with cucumber, cilantro, shredded pickled carrots, and house-made chile mayo.

For those who want to venture outside the realm of sandwiches, there are also rice bowls filled with grilled seasonal vegetables like carrots and asparagus topped with tender short rib, chile yogurt, and chive-lime vinaigrette, and healthy sides like raw kale and apple salad with toasted sesame vinaigrette and spicy Cambodian slaw.

Go for the food, stay for the ‘80s/’90s hip-hop and urban-chic graffiti-covered walls, and come back with friends to show off your sandwich-shop-selecting skills—and to get even more of this amazing coalescence of cool, crunchy, creamy, and refreshing along with spicy, savory, bright, and sweet. (Now that’s a lot of flavor and texture!)


Mon–Fri 11 AM–6 PM
Closed Saturday and Sunday

price range

$7.95 (roasted cauliflower sandwich) to $13.75 (grilled skirt steak salad)