Foumami Debuts a Chinese New Year Sandwich

Owner Michael Wang shares details his new New Year-inspired sandwich at Foumami and his favorite Chinese New Year eats.

The new spicy La Long pork sandwich and Longan melon soda will be available at Foumami for the next 15 days. (Photo courtesy of Foumami.)

Today marks the official start of the Chinese New Year, a 15-day celebration that’s the most important holiday of the year for those of Chinese descent. This year is the “Year of the Dragon,” and in honor of the occasion, Asian-inspired downtown sandwich shop Foumami will debut a Chinese New Year-themed sandwich today called the La Long, which is Chinese for “spicy dragon.”

I recently chatted with Michael Wang, Foumami’s owner, in order to get more details on the new spicy sandwich, and find out how he celebrates the New Year on his own time.

“You want to eat foods with good symbolism [on New Year’s day], because it sets a precedent for what your life will be throughout the rest of the year,” Wang says. “Since it’s the Year of the Dragon, we wanted to come up with a sandwich that sort of keeps in line with the symbolism, but keeps in line with the concept of the restaurant.”

Wang mimics the colors of the traditional Chinese dragon (gold, red, and green) with spicy red-hued barbecue pork, a cooling cabbage and scallion slaw, and golden toasted shao bing bread. “We used pork because it is regularly eaten during the New Year, because it represents strength, wealth, abundance, and blessing,” Wang says.

To pair with the sandwich ($7.95), there’s a soda ($2.75) made with a mix of Japanese melon soda and the juice of a longan fruit, which is a relative of the lychee. “Melon is a popular fruit during the Chinese New Year — it signifies good health and family unity. We wanted to make a green-colored drink because it represents health, prosperity, and harmony,” Wang says. The sandwich and soda will be available for the next 15 days.

As for Wang’s favorite Chinese New Year foods? He says that he grew up eating his grandmother’s miniature pork and vegetable water dumplings, which represent luck, and hot pots with mini pork and tofu meatballs. For good celebratory eats around town, Wang recommends heading to Chinatown’s Gourmet Dumpling House for dumplings and Hei La Moon for dim sum (where his favorite dishes are shrimp dumplings, pork ribs, steamed pork buns, and grilled mashed daikon).

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