305 Church Street (Walker Street)
CHILI MACKEREL MANTOU
Province’s crusty, spicy, resoundingly fishy mackerel mantou is nothing a fish sandwich might expect to be. Instead, it resembles a hot dog with the works: chewy, salty and squirting juice from the heap of crunchy pickled shallots on top of the fried fillet. Holding it all together are the steamed, fluffy buns known as mantou.
“Growing up in Hong Kong, I ate everything with chopsticks in one hand and a mantou in the other,” said Pak Wong, an owner. “It made sense to put the food and the bun together.”
Characteristic of Northern China, mantou are pillowy like English muffins, soft like hamburger buns, and they soak up flavors like nothing else.
This sleek shop straddles chic TriBeCa and scrappy Chinatown, much like its sandwiches, which incorporate kimchi, braised pork belly, beef burgers and Japanese pickles. “Our sandwiches are very New York because they are not Chinese, not Korean, but all kinds of things we like,” Mr. Wong said.
April 30, 2008