If you found this blog by Googling my name or by following sundry noxious links (you know where), please note that all claims that I was fired from my job are 100% false, as are most of the other things written about me. I don't know the people who are libeling me, but it's clear they have some imaginary axe to grind and way too much time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

For all my fellow office drones in Midtown East.

I went to the opening of Mantao Chinese Sandwiches for lunch today. I just couldn't resist after receiving a "friends of Mantao" soft opening invite email with secret 20% discount password. I need to feel special.

But the line was out the door and after waiting 5 or so minutes to place my order, I waited another 25 for my food. So much for feeling special.

"We're a little backed up," the adorable girl working the register was telling everyone, "it'll be 15-20 minutes."

(Before eating anything, I was already utterly charmed by this operation, just because they seemed like a bunch of friends who decided to open a sandwich shop (you can make a lot of assumptions observations in 25 minutes). In another life, where my friends are not studying to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, curators, writers, professors, and rich finance dudes, I can see us doing something like this.)

I got the Original Mantao Pork Bun sandwich and the Short Rib and Kimchi sandwich, although everything on the menu looked yummy.

Short rib and kimchi. Think bulgogi rather than kalbi for the short rib here, but a lesser marination job than either.

Original pork bun. I should be a hand model.

I'm not saying I measured, but they are about 9cm in diameter.

Both were solid, although the pork bun was the clear winner for me. I especially like what they've done with the bun. Mantou bread is traditionally steamed and eaten whole, as an accompaniment to veggie and meat dishes. Northern Chinese sandwiches, on the other hand, are usually made with flat, sesame-adorned, pancake-type breads. This, a steamed mantou toasted with sesame, is a happy, wholesome marriage better than anything that bougie fusion places like Shang have come up with.

I also got the milky black tea, but that was weak - too much milk.

I'll be dragging my coworkers there tomorrow to order the fried egg with Chinese sausage, spicy pork, and spicy mackerel sandwiches. If you decide to go this week, I highly recommend placing a pickup order via telephone and adding 5 minutes to the wait time they quote you.


  1. Halleluja! Thank you, a place Alex and I would both want to try and can afford (thank god the ones we can't afford don't really interest us...yet?). And ha! I saw the picture and was like, "She could be a hand model." If all else fails, which I doubt. xogaby

  2. I hope you guys try it and like it, but I have to warn you - the sandwiches are definitely not as big as the ones at Vanessa's, nor as greasy-good. (Also, no duck = sad). I could see Alex plowing through 5 of these, so maybe less affordable.

  3. the contrast of the French manicure versus the grubby, messy gua bao is... kinda hot.

  4. haha! what... you do have nice hands.