Likely, if you’ve watched random food documentaries or shows, you’ve come across the name David Chang. He’s the owner of Momofuku, as well as several other well-known restaurants. But, Momofuku was where it all began for him, and for most, it is the restaurant that they associate him with.
I was pretty excited to try out the original Momofuku Noodle Bar, having seen David appear in so many of the documentaries I’ve seen! Plus, they served ramen. Which is basically one of my go-to foods!
During our trip to Toronto, we passed by Momofuku Toronto. Not knowing that there was a restaurant there, we had already eaten and it was our last day in Toronto. We knew we had to put Momofuku down as one of the places we had to eat at during our New York trip.
We arrived at Momofuku Noodle Bar at 12 PM on the dot. We were not the first ones there and there was a lineup ahead of us that had started to get seated. We sat about 4 stools from the entrance since most of the tables were already filled. Shortly after sitting down, the entire restaurant was full. It was probably like 12:10 PM. Keep in mind that we went on a Wednesday when most people are at work. How???
I’d recommend going there early if you don’t want to wait. Especially if you’re going on a weekend.
We had other food places to hit up that day, so we kept lunch pretty simple. We got the Momofuku Ramen and the Brisket Buns (Momofuku menu here).
First off, the Momofuku Ramen was okay. It wasn’t bad at all, but coming from Vancouver, I’ve been spoiled with some amazing ramen. But the pork belly slice you get with your ramen was heavenly. The outside was crispy, and the inside was slightly fatty and tantalizingly tender. The broth itself was smoky in taste, which was a little different from what I’m used to. They also have a small bottle of Ssäm sauce at every table should you want to add a little kick to your food.
What’s Ssäm sauce? It reminds me of the gochujang, but sweeter. You could buy some to-go at the Momofuku restaurants too if you really liked it! They literally recommend it with everything—from Ramen to fries. I didn’t use much of it at Momofuku since everything I had was quite flavorful. I mainly just wanted to try out the famed sauce.
One part of Momofuku I’ll never forget is the Brisket Buns. When you order the buns, they give you two of the gua baos stuffed with whatever you chose. I’m going to have a hard time forgetting the briskets. Firstly, the brisket looked amazing when they came. You could see the tendrils of fat running through the meat. The bao also had lettuce, horseradish mayo, and pickled ginger. When you take a bite, all of the ingredients work together in tandem and you can’t help but think about how few bites you have left.
The brisket reminded me a bit of corned beef, where you get that spiced-infused flavor. The texture was soft and the fatty bits melt in your mouth.
Overall, the two items cost us a little over $30 USD before tax. Should I go again, I’d probably order 2 plates of the Brisket Buns for myself 😛 Would definitely recommend them!
Another place we visited that’s linked to Momofuku was the Momofuku Milk Bar. It’s an award-winning bakery that was opened by chef Christina Tosi, and Christina herself worked on the dessert menu for David Chang’s restaurants. There are actually quite a few branches of Milk Bar around New York. We passed by one late at night and decided to grab a bite to eat.
They’re famous for their desserts but we had their “bombs” instead. We ordered the egg & cheddar bomb, and a bagel bomb. The egg and cheddar was exactly what you’d imagine: egg and cheddar, and a little bit of onion inside a small bun. The bagel bomb had cream cheese and bacon inside.
We had them heated up, which we didn’t realize meant they’d microwave it for us. The location we had visited was super small, so there were no seats at all. We didn’t want cold bagel bombs when it was already like -8 degrees outside. Because it was microwaved, they were a little wet when we had them.
Honestly, they weren’t that good. They both tasted a little overly salty and were a little small for the price. But I guess I also didn’t order any of their dessert specialties. Perhaps if I visit New York again in a warmer weather, I’ll be in the mood for something that doesn’t require heating up!