So, I just got back from another visit to New York City (type New York City Good Adventure in search box), and as usual, a good deal of the trip was centered around where we would eat lunch and dinner.
The one place that has always been on our menu plan is momofuku noodle bar on 1st Ave. I hate to buy into the hype which now surrounds the funky, innovative, 30 something Korean American Chef who transformed the image of the instant ramen noodle into something fresh, and restaurant worthy. Something you could buy at the supermarket for pennies (in fact, Chang lived on packaged ramen noodles while in college, and never tired of them), but decide is worth shelling out 60 times more for, has to be something very special. And, his ramen noodles are certainly excellent; smokey, with an additive chewy bite.
However, the reason we insist on having at least one meal at the momofuku noodle shop, is not for the ramen, but for the crazy good pork buns. There is absolutely nothing like the taste of their steamed spongy pork buns wrapped around thick fatty slices of pork belly, accompanied by a couple of pickled cucumbers, laced with hoisin sauce and a smattering of shaved scallion slices.
When I took my kids here a couple of years ago they ate the pork buns with such fervor and enthusiasm it bordered on becoming an embarrassing public moment. They slurped and licked their fingers while telling me they had never tasted anything so good, or so perfectly wonderful in their entire lives.
Every time we visit New York City with the kids, all they want to do is eat pork buns! We try other things, like their special yesterday, Ramen with Goat, but the pork buns are what they remember and what they vow to come back for.
I can’t blame them for dreaming about these perfect little morsels, or for being more enthusiastic over them than anything I have ever made. It is a very simple formula, but if you truly know food like apparently Mr. Chang does, you can take 3 ingredients, put them together and make them sing. This is the reason the momofuku pork bun is quickly becoming iconic (at least to myself and my kids!)
We will ache for this dish everyday until we find an excuse to visit the city again.