Any food lover worth their weight in pork buns is sure to make a pit stop at Momofuku in New York. The only question is which one? Ssam, The Noodle Bar, Ko or Ma Peche. Of course it goes without saying that whichever Momofuku you choose to dine at you have to complete the meal with dessert from the Momofuku Milk Bar.
David Chang is the brainchild behind the Momofuku restaurants, focusing on a fusion of Korean/American cuisine. His legendary pork buns are the stuff of foodie dreams - and they are as good as all the hype makes them out to be.
We didn't visit Momofuku until quite late in our trip and my stomach was suffering from serious food fatigue. We decided to hit up Momofuku Ssam for a few smaller tapas style dishes, rather than the Noodle Bar as it just wasn't Ramen weather - being a hot and sunny day.
We start with a steamed pork bun each (these are too good to consider sharing no matter how full you are from 10 solid days of eating). I love the soft, doughy buns that look like Pacman gobbling up a sweet, fatty piece of pork. Pacman also has a good does of flavoursome hoisin, cucumbers and scallions in his gob. I really wish we could get pork buns like this in Sydney. Sigh.
Unbeknownst to me Ssam also do a pulled duck bun (*happy dance*). Despite being slathered with just a bit too much smoked mayo, the shredded duck was AMAZING and resplendent with a crispy, salty tile of duck skin on top. There's also a bit of sauerkraut in there somewhere.
We thought we were being healthy by ordering a broccoli salad with a smoked bluefish vinaigrette. This salad was DELICIOUS, and the waitress tells us anything cooked in rendered duck fat and topped with crispy flecks of duck crackling ought to taste mind blowing. Well, it blew our feeble little minds that's for sure.
After our few healthy (*cough cough*) small plates we decide to upsize things and order a lunch plate of
rotisserie duck over rice with “all the fixings”, or as the waitress said “one tricked out duck over rice”. The scaled down version of the lunch plate comes with just duck, scallion, ssam sauce and crispy shallot. We added lettuce and chive pancakes so we could make delicious, ducky, tasty wraps.
Our plan after lunch was head directly across the road to the Momofuku Milkbar so I could inhale a piece or three of their famous Crack Pie, but we were so full we had to go for a walk to let lunch settle down into our hollow legs.
So a little stroll around the streets of the Lower East Side bring us back to the Milkbar with slightly emptied stomachs.
I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted to buy but was very nearly sidetracked by the tempting display of cookies, cakes and slices on the counter. Corn Cookie? Sounds tempting, but I needed to stay focused.
I order a slice of my long dreamed about Crack Pie which is so sweet I'm sure I got cavities in my teeth at the very first bite. The pie is called Crack Pie as it is purported to be as addictive as Crack. Not that I've had Crack, but the pie is pretty nice, however I don't feel like I'm addicted to it (which is good as it's long way back to the visit the Milkbar from Sydney, and I can't bake one myself as...I can't bake). The pie is a super sweet mix of butter, cream, brown sugar, regular sugar, and a corn flour and the taste and texture reminds me a litlte of the caramel in our caramel slice. Plenty of people have blogged about baking this pie and it's pretty easy to find a recipe online if you feel the ned to test your addiction levels.
I also grab a Compost Cookie for the road. Another quirky name for a cookie that contains just about everything you'd throw into a compost bin - though it tastes (and smells) better than I imagine any compost bin would. The cookie contains everything from potato chips, pretzels, coffee grounds (yes coffee grounds), chocolate chips and butterscotch chips (plus what I suspect is a whole tonne of butter) resulting in a moist, chewy, tasty cookie.
The Cereal Milk Soft Serve grabs Miss M's eye. The ice-cream tastes just like the left over milk in the bottom of your cornflakes bowl. Not my cup of tea, but I think cereal lovers would be pretty chuffed.
David Chang has recently opened a Momofuku at the casino in Sydney - a bit more fancy schmancy (and pricey) than Ssam, but I hear that the pork buns are on the menu.