BBQ Pork Bun and Banh Mi @ New Century in Charlotte
After checking out Le's Sandwiches & Café for, well, sandwiches and coffee, we headed to its neighbor in the Asian Corner Mall, New Century grocery.
New Century has mostly Chinese dumplings and bao type of snacks at the prepped food counter. But it also has one banh mi, the classic combo, for $3. Some were pre-made and wrapped on the counter, but ours was assembled to order.
The bread seemed a little stale, not as airy and light as Le’s, and chewy rather than delicate and crisp. Also, it was not hollowed out, a big no-no in my book, throwing off the proportions and essential balance of the sandwich. The pickled carrots and daikon were cut smaller, more like a thick grating, and did not provide the nice bite of Le’s pickles.
On the brighter side, the baked barbecue pork bun (char siu bao) was quite decent. The bread part had a biscuit-y, layered flakiness to it that I really liked. The char siu filling tasted good and wasn’t too greasy or fatty, but the diced meat was on the hard side. Following my barbecue sampling in Lexington, and then the grilled pork at Le’s and this pork bun, I have to conclude that commercial pork supply in this part of the Carolinas is much leaner, tougher and less flavorful than what I’m accustomed to at home.
Le's Sandwiches and Cafe
4520 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28213
New Century Grocery
4500 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28213