You can’t make an omelet without breaking a couple eggs. To craft the Eggbini, a breakfast sandwich that started hitting plates at newly opened Japanese restaurant Konbini last month in Koreatown, chef Sarah Kang has to break a couple more than that.
Containing four scrambled eggs blended with gooey cheese and sandwiched between two thick slices of house-baked brioche toast, Kang’s creation is a fresh take on the traditional breakfast sandwich that’s already got a huge following in Japan. Customers have their choice of fillings — avocado, bacon, ham, sausage — but what really makes the Eggbini is the final flourish: drizzling the whole thing with white cheese sauce or spicy mayo.
While it’s available for sit-down diners to order within Konbini’s 64-seat space, the signature sandwich makes a surprisingly good grab-and-go thanks to its sturdy cardboard wrapper.
“Since this area has a lot of foot traffic with a lot of offices and tourists, I wanted to offer an easy kind of grab-and-go sandwich that you can eat as you walk and hold onto,” Kang tells InsideHook. “This restaurant’s kind of influenced by Japanese convenience stores. So, I wanted to bring kind of an American twist in the morning and add the classic bacon, egg and cheese to our menu.”
Kang developed the Eggbini over the course of a week and had a chef friend help her out with the cheese sauce, which is a variant on Béchamel. Though she likes the farm-fresh eggs and other interior ingredients, the brioche and the cheese are the standouts, according to Kang.
“I also studied baking, so the bread is made in-house,” she says. “It was just another way to bring in my studies into this business. I really think the bread highlights the sandwich. And then the sauce, obviously. To me, the bread and the sauce are the specialties that really make it pop.”
A native New Yorker, Kang grew up eating bacon, egg and cheeses on bagels from her local bodega, an item that wasn’t readily available during the year she spent living in Japan.
“When I was in Japan, the one thing I missed the most in the morning was a good bodega breakfast sandwich,” she says. “I would eat the Tamago Salada Sondo [an egg salad sandwich], which is, to me, as close as possible because it still has egg. But I always missed breakfast sandwiches while I was there. And when I came back, it was one of the first things I wanted to eat.”
Offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a little less than a tenner, the Eggbini has quickly become of the most popular options on Kang’s menu.
“I didn’t expect it to be a huge item or for it to get so big,” she says. “It was just that I really wanted to offer something easy in the morning for the people around this neighborhood. Now, I am thinking of ways of expanding it because it got big. I think there are different versions of it that we could do that I have been thinking about, but nothing concrete” — yet.
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