First Bites

Asian Pan Brings Banh Mi and Korean BBQ Downtown (Sort Of)

While exiting Eternity Coffee Roasters the other day, I noticed a fast-food type of place right next door called Asian Pan. A friendly manager behind the counter informed me that it had opened about two-and-a-half months ago, and that it wasn't a chain. "Not yet," he added.

In fact, it isn't a stretch to suspect that the menu of six Asian-inspired sandwiches, an equal number of American-inspired sandwiches, a soup du jour, four salads, two sides (edamame and fries with three dips), and two desserts (brownie and cookie) is kept stripped down to make it easy to franchise.

​I bought two sandwiches: A "Vietnamese" and a "Korean BBQ Pork." The former isn't called a banh mi, but it features a choice of marinated pork, chicken, or steak ($6.95 to $7.95) with pickled cucumber and carrots, cilantro, mayonnaise and soy sauce on a "white baguette" that's similar in consistency to a real banh mi bun (sandwiches are also available on wheat baguette or in wraps). There is no pâté involved, and the sandwich isn't exactly stuffed to the gills with meat or vegetables (we selected pork), but it's definitely tasty.

So were morsels of pork smothered in so-called Korean-style sauce. This sandwich comes with cole slaw on top, and tastes an awful lot like a pulled pork in barbecue sauce American-style. Other sandwiches include tempura tilapia with Thai sweet chili sauce; choice of protein prepared either satay or teriyaki style; chicken salad; smoked ham & swiss; pepper steak; and "Japanese" tuna salad.

Lee Klein
Asian Pan's counter.
​The french fries ($2.95) are thin and crisp. You might want to skip the satay dip, though; there's a reason potatoes are never garnished with peanuts.

We can pan Asian Pan for its authenticity not panning out, but if you think of this as a downtown sandwich shop that offers a fresh alternative to Subway and such, you should be pleased.

Asian Pan
119 SE 2nd Ave., Miami

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Miami New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past decade, and the world's indisputable master of disguise.
Contact: Lee Klein