May 2, 2015

Review: Corner Bakery Cafe - Spicy Asian Pork Sandwich

Corner Bakery Cafe's Spicy Asian Pork Sandwich features shredded flame-roasted pork, sliced cucumbers, spicy slaw, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, and spicy Asian barbecue sauce on a toasted French roll.

It's normally $8.49 for a whole sandwich, but they were sampling it and I got a half sandwich for free. It came with a pickle spear and chips.

The Spicy Asian Pork Sandwich is only available at select locations and seems to be Corner Bakery's take on a Vietnamese banh mi.

My sandwich was missing the cucumbers, which was a shame as they usually add a fresh, watery crunch (Although in hindsight, maybe two of those pickle spears weren't pickled. I can't quite remember whether they were; they're a little big for the narrow and already overflowing sandwich though). Fortunately the slaw, which is a sweet and tangy combination of cabbage and carrots, picked up the slack.

The lone sprig of cilantro added the requisite fresh flavor and can also easily be removed with how they present the sandwich.

The pork offered a nice, meaty, lightly-seasoned taste and tender texture. They seemed to have tossed it in the Asian barbecue sauce, which added a soy sauce-based sweetness and tanginess. They also gave me a cup of it on the side, but what was already on the meat was a good amount.

Most of the sandwich wasn't spicy at all to me; there may have been a light heat here and there. The only heat I really detected was from the pickled jalapeno slices, which added an unnecessary tanginess that is already covered in the sandwich and doesn't quite fit. The spice was nice but I didn't like the flavor. Fresh ones might have been a better choice since most of the components were already seasoned in some way.

The bread was very lightly toasted and too dense and soft for this style of sandwich (if that's what they're going for). Regardless of what they were going for, a light, crusty baguette would have set off nicely against the heavier ingredients, or maybe at least more time in the toaster for the bread they went with.

Overall, I enjoyed Corner Bakery Cafe's Spicy Pork Sandwich, especially the pork, but the jalapeno slices and bread didn't quite fit for me and felt a bit pigeon-holed.

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