NYC! Day 3: Ssäm bar


Special: Fried Duck Dumplings
What? Ssäm bar for legendary food
Where? 207 2nd avenue (New York)
Price? $8-$200
The skinny: Under the group of momofuku restaurants owned by David Chang, Ssäm bar is all about having fantastic food with a twist while enjoying the casual atmosphere of the place. Make online reservations for their pork shoulder & whole-rotisserie duck!

And the NYC posts just keep on going and going haha. I’ve got about a dozen left to post. They’re all about great places though! :D all about a 10 hour drive away…

On our way to Milk Bar, we passed by this: 
None of us recognized it at first but it’s ssäm bar! So instead of going for dessert first, we popped in here for a quick bite. This may all sound very casual but I was silently freaking out (in the moment) because I never expected to be able to eat in one of the momfuku restaurants. They’re always packed!

Lucky for us (btdubs momofuku = lucky peach in Japanese!) there was barely anyone inside…partly because they were about to close the kitchen, ending lunch. 

No worries, that just meant that we had to get our orders in within 5 minutes of sitting down. I just feel so lucky that they even let us eat at around 3! Elyn’s trying to figure out what she wants…

Here’s the menu. It’s very neatly divided: raw bar, small plates, country hams, large dishes, dessert. There’s also a prix fixe menu which is super affordable but we weren’t in the mood for that appetite-wise since this meal came hot off the heels of our grilled corn adventure at Café Habana

We went for 3 items. They all came relatively quickly. Awesome!
Yeah, that went in my mouth & it tasted damn amazing!


Steamed Pork Buns (10)
No brainer. I’ve been dreaming about having these for so long it’d be cruel to not order it. Since a order comes with only two, we got two orders. Yes, $5 per bun is pricey at first glance but that perspective is shatters as soon as you pick it up. 
Two orders of steamed pork buns. I can eat it all easy.

So pillowy, the bun itself is already wowing me. Although you only see 3 photos in total of the pork buns I must’ve taken at least a dozen while my friends were enjoying it. It’d waited so long I couldn’t believe this moment had finally come! And it was glorious. I mean just heavenly (how could it not be?! This single dish is known worldwide). The pork belly packed mad flavour and it was soft, so yielding. Being Chinese, I’ve had my fair share of steamed buns but this was revelatory. 

Tripe Salad (13)
There is a tripe dish in the menu but we went for the special. A great salad composed of tomatoes, green onions, lightly pickled cucumber slices and of course TRIPE! 

I can understand why people can be turned off tripe but they’re missing out! If cooked properly, and flavoured well, it can taste great! The texture is so unique and this is one of the few times where it was the right texture. It had that bite to it. Served cold = yes, it worked!

Fried Duck Dumplings (12)
Here’s the last dish we ordered, also one of the specials of the day. One order will get you five dumplings served with yellow wax beans and a sort of curry dipping sauce. 

I enjoyed the crunch from the fried dumpling wrapper. The contrast between that and the moist duck just played off each other in the sense that one enhanced the other. Awesome balance. Didn’t really need the sauce but it did give it a teensy bit of a kick. More dimension I guess. Which is never a bad thing! ;D

Not very cheap for “a bite” but when you think of what this restaurant is, a Michelin bib gourmand eatery and #48 on the san Pellegrino world’s 50 best restaurants list. Pretty damn impressive. And yes, mad ecstatic that we ate here. (No reservations taken unless for bo ssäm or whole-rotisserie duck)

Verdict? An unexpected experience but one that we all looked forward to, just not today. I’d love to eat at all the momofuku restaurants one day. The upcoming Toronto location is doable but Sydney…erm. We’ll have to see about that.

5 out of 5 NOMs
Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon