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Struggling with my Addiction


Last Friday was defining. Defining in the same way that a line in the sand separates supportive and excessive. I am both embarrassed and thrilled to say that I’ve eaten at Num Pang seven times in the month of July. How could I resist their seasonal Five Spice Glazed Pork Belly sandwich with pickled Asian pear and the most amazing chili mayo I had ever tasted? These sandwiches are so flavorful, they make a mockery of the unused Sriracha sauce sitting on the miniature tables overlooking 12th street.

I’ve eaten Cambodian food only once before Num Pang. It was at a farmer’s market in Ithaca, NY. I don’t remember much of the experience but I’m picturing a rich black hot sauce with a tar-like consistency. As I hesitantly tasted the hot sauce, I made a mental note to revisit Cambodian food. If it tasted anything like the black tar, I was in for a treat. Naturally, like most mental notes, this one ended up stuffed between “movies I want to see” and “things I need to buy.” Three or four years later, I found myself wandering Yelp like a lost child in an amusement park of food. I thought I had made the find of the year but apparently Num Pang is a landmark in the city.

I began to look forward to lunch again. Lunch can become a mundane task in this city, despite its melting pot qualities. It seems there are too many options to make an educated decision. I am perpetually terrified of choosing a mediocre restaurant and wasting a meal. As an ironic result, I often find myself in the familiar and safe environment of the corner deli. Num Pang, as far as I’m concerned, was a godsend.

On my fourth visit, I had a mini heart attack when, in response to my “One pork belly please!” I heard, “We’re out. Sorry.” That’s it. No condoling pats on the back or empathetic smiles. I knew this day would come. After all, it IS a seasonal sandwich. I took it for granted. After some delay, I cleared my throat and disappointingly ordered a pulled pork sandwich. When my order was up, I took a bite of my consolation prize, but not before bitterly stink eyeing it. Wow. Needless to say, I went back a fifth, sixth and seventh time and haven’t ordered the pork belly since visit 3.

It’s a small feat to have conquered but just a little over a month ago, I didn’t even know this place existed. It reminds me that there are so many things I haven’t tried and it pushes me to welcome new experiences. After Saturday. I can’t go another day without one of these babies.

Hi, I'm Franki.

I love photographing people that are just simply in love. I live for new experiences and different cultures, and I care deeply for the environment. Some of my favorite days are spent exploring nearby hiking trails with my husband, Ben.





Francesca Caputo Photography is based in Jacksonville Fl and available for travel worldwide.