Along with an indifferent cat, 99-cent bags of Utz chips and copies of The New York Post held down by a rock, bodegas across NYC’s five boroughs are generally all home to some version of the bacon, egg and cheese. Usually offered on a roll but sometimes served on a bagel or even a hero in extreme cases, the sandwich is a breakfast staple, late-night snack and around-the-clock hangover cure. If New York is the city never sleeps, it’s also the city that never stops consuming BECs.
Given that appetite, we’ve seen some restaurants come up with their own signature spin on the bodega staple, but we’ve never seen one quite like the DEC sandwich that’s being offered up by Chinese eatery Milu. While the sandwich coming on a housemade pineapple bun is certainly a departure from the norm, the main thing that separates Milu’s DEC from a standard BEC is that chef Connie Chung opted to eschew bacon and use a crispy duck leg instead.
“I wanted to take those three simple ingredients and make it ours, and my first thought was to use Chinese sausage instead of bacon,” she says. “It’s also a pork product, it’s pretty fatty and it’s also delicious. But when I made it, it just wasn’t that exciting. Chinese sausage is better when it’s cut up relatively small, so to have big bacon-like slices of it in the sandwich was not super awesome. My next thought was, ‘Well, if I can’t use a quintessential Chinese ingredient, what if I use a quintessential Milu ingredient?’ The duck dish we serve is somewhat of a signature and it’s also my favorite protein, so it made sense to use that. Also, if you crisp the skin the way we do, duck confit is very similar to bacon — fatty and crispy.”
Created as part of a celebration of the BEC in NYC powered by online ordering platform ChowNow (which lets restaurants keep 100% of their proceeds) that’s taking place until May 2, Milu’s DEC also contains soft scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese topped with chili crisp.
Though Milu’s take on the standard sandwich may seem a bit elevated compared to a bodega BEC, Chung maintains that the DEC isn’t really all that fancy. Available for $10, the sandwich’s price point certainly reflects that.
“At the end of the day, a bacon, egg and cheese is a humble sandwich. I guess duck is a ‘fancy’ protein, but it’s still just duck, egg and cheese,” she says. “It’s a breakfast sandwich. No one wants to spend that much on a breakfast sandwich. We wanted to make sure it was reasonable for someone to grab and go.”
In addition to Milu, independent restaurants taking part in ChowNow’s citywide celebration of the BEC include Adda Indian Canteen, Ess-A-Bagel, Frenchette Bakery, Hunky Dory, James, Leo, Melba’s, Pies ‘n’ Thighs and Wildair.
Sandwiches are limited in quantity each day and hours and offerings vary by participating restaurant.
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