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Jul 5, 2003 12:36 AM

Pork sandwich Canarsie style?

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My father grew up in Canarsie (Brooklyn) during the Fifties and Sixties, and loves to wax nostalgic about the food he remembers from the area; Chinese take-out, corned-beef sandwiches, Italian ices, celery soda. Lately, however, he has been trying to re-create an interesting sort of sandwich he claims was only available at a couple of little places in Canarsie when he grew up. It consists of sliced marinated roast pork, topped with duck sauce and placed between two slices of garlic bread. The combination seems rather offbeat, but somehow, it works to create a unique taste that resembles nothing I have ever tried before. So, anyway, does anyone else know of this sandwich? Does it still exist in the New York area? Does it have an actual name? My dad couldn't remember it either, and suggested the oh-so-creative "roast pork sandwich." I think a sandwich so unique should have a name to match; any suggestions, if you don't know the sandwich's real name?

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  1. Having grown up in Bklyn myself, i do remember those roast pork sandwiches just as you described. The best bet for finding them would be in a diner. Perhaps The Floridian on Flatbush & Utica aves. Ask your dad if he remembers Chowmein sandwiches at Nathan's?

    3 Replies
    1. re: thesteiner

      We had the same in every diner in Queens - ate it all the time. I just saw it again on a diner menu, and I'm pretty sure it's not that uncommon in diners in general. Usually called Chinese Roast Pork on the menu.

      1. re: kiwi
        Evan B. Druce

        Yep, sounds like diner food... "Chinese Roast Pork," on Italian garlic bread. God, I love this city...

        1. re: Evan B. Druce

          The sandwich you're talking about unquestionably came from a long-gone (and very strange) restaurant called Herbie's International on Flatlands Ave. I've had the sandwich in other places - the Kings Plaza Diner included - but nothing has come even close to the masterpiece my friends and I used to refer to as the "HRP" (Herbie's Roast Pork). Part of the secret, I think, was the garlic bread, which was dripping with garlic butter, even on top. And they wouldn't have dreamed of serving it (as so many places do these days) with duck sauce from a cellphane packet.

    2. I've had these in diners all over new york, I remember they had it at the kings plaza diner and it was pretty darn tasty!

      here is the address
      4124 Avenue U

      2 Replies
      1. re: MissToodles

        Absolutely, The King's Diner! Hey, do you remember the Sanpan?

        1. re: chuck

          I'm 22 years old, so the sanpan might not be in my frame of reference, details are always welcomed of course!

      2. I ripped off the idea when I opened a restaurant in Pittsburgh and the people loved it. I never actually had it in Brooklyn but my ex-wife was from there and had told me all about it. I knew how to make the authentic Chinese Roast Pork; we marinated the fresh pork in a combination of sugar, hoisin, garlic, ginger, soy and red food coloring, cut it in strips and hung them over a water bath in the oven to retain the moisture.

        We doctored up the commercial duck sauce with extra garlic, sugar/vinegar solution and pimentos for color just like the greatest Chinese place in Brooklyn did -The Sanpan!!! What a restaurant that was!! They taught me the secret of their duck sauce and how to make those huge table noodles.

        Anyway, we then used Hoagie rolls that we lightly toasted and spread with oil and garlic. It really is a unique sandwich. I'd love to know who actually invented it. Hope this helps...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chuck

          Oops - Forgot to mention the dry sherry (not cream sherry!)in the marinade.

        2. The Colonade Diner, on Hylan Blvd on Staten Island, makes this sandwich. They just call it "Chinese roast pork", I think. It's decent, but not in a chowhound way (bread is not very garlicky sandwich rolls, packaged duck sauce, pork OK but not inspired), and would probably disappoint anyone looking to revisit a chow favorite from years past. I gotta think someone somewhere makes a much tastier version.


          1. Yep, any good diner will have it on their menu: Chinese Roast Pork on Garlic Bread (usually served with french fries). I had it just the other day at the Vegas Diner on 86th St. and 15th Avenue in Brooklyn. The El Greco Diner in Sheepshead Bay has it as well. Some Diners on Staten Island have it too, but I've never seen it at any Diners in Manhattan, Queens, or the Bronx.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cwinkler

              They have it at the Shalimar diner, 63rd Drive in Rego Park.

              1. re: EricMM

                Had it at the Shalimar last month. It was awful!

                1. re: hana

                  I never said it was good....just that it is sold in Queens at the Shalimar. Only had it once. It was not awful....but it was not good enough to order over my usual burger.