NYC II! Day 3: momofuku ssäm bar

Naturally, after our soft serve adventure at milkbar, we crossed the street to satisfy our pork bun cravings at momofuku ssäm bar (@momofuku) (opened in 2006, #37 on San Pellegrino’s “World’s 50 best restaurant list”). Owned by Chef David Chang (@davidchang), this restaurant of the momofuku restaurant group serves as the one with rotating menu, with daily specials in addition to well-loved staples. Here, you can have the grand momofuku experience of the bo ssäm pork shoulder (6-10 people) or a whole rotisserie duck! (reservations need to be made). 

Located at 207 2nd ave at 13th street, it’s quite convenient to get to ssäm bar from the metro. Yup, there’s my 3 food buddies on the right! Vickie, Andrew, and Darian. This would be Vickie and Andrew’s first time having the legendary pork buns!! (I was so excited for them). I wonder if they open the garage door for al fresco dining?

Compared to the outside of the restaurant, which gives nothing away, the inside is without a doubt much more inviting. I love the dark wood and the clean lines; they naturally guide your eyes from the front straight down to the kitchen in the back. 

The menu. Last time (here), the spicy honeycomb tripe was a special. It’s nice to see that it’s on the regular menu now!  

Darian’s beer. Seriously, every sit-down meal, he’d get beer! It’s not a bad thing…I comment more out of jealousy that he barely gets the asian glow when he drinks.

We were given permission to snap a few photos of the guys in action! Thanks Andrew for manning up to ask, I’m such a chicken sometimes (almost all the time). It was just the beginning of dinner service so no chaos (yet?). Everyone was working calmly and quietly. Plus, none of them were peeved that we were there with our cameras, even if it was just for a minute. Thanks!

Spicy Honeycomb Tripe – ginger scallion, celery, pickled tomatoes (12)
Tripe ain’t an easy offal to cook with. After all, it is the lining of a cow’s stomach…doesn’t smell that pretty either. Sorry, I’m painting this horrible picture for all you tripe virgins. The point I want to make is that they know how to handle this ingredient very well!

It still retained some of its chewiness but only just a bit. The texture was right on point and the combination of flavours works wonderfully. Pickled tomatoes and tripe, who knew?!

Steamed Buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions (10)
Dundundun!!! A couple months ago, our old neighbour came to visit us at our new place. She mentioned going to some ramen shop in New York (it was momofuku noodle bar) where her friend convinced her to try the pork buns. It was totally lost on her. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t like it! 

Her reaction to it was the complete opposite of mine. I absolutely love pork buns here! The pork belly is perfectly tender (and fatty, which equates to flavor) and the bun’s warm and pillowy. Well, needless to say, I was holding my breath when Vickie and Andrew bit into theirs. (our server was nice enough to pull out the cookbook for us to read more about it!)

It completely won them over! It’s not a wacky combination of things—in fact, it’s rather quite rooted in tradition, but it’s done so well and with just the right amount of twist to it that Momofuku is famous for them! I fawn over my pork bun for a moment or two and when I look up, Andrew’s had disappeared already. I kid you not, you can ask him, he literally INHALED that bun. 
Then he got another order for himself and Darian. (An order comes with 2 pork buns). I know $5 for one is quite steep, but try it, at least once. ;) The colouration of the pork belly was quite pale compared to last time, but it still tastes the same so I’m not complaining!

Lucky peach logo. :D

After lunch, we figured that it'd be a good idea to walk off the food...(after a couple MORE food adventures of course!) so we headed over to Highline! In short, it's a public park that was built (prevented from being torn down by people in the community who did some beautiful guerilla planting) over an abandoned freight rail line. 

It runs 1.45 miles down Manhattan's west side and needless to say, it's a beautiful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. A nice escape within the city (not that Central Park isn't already). It would make for a romantic stroll (you know, get some ice cream, watch the whole sunset while leaning on his shoulder sort of deal. Future cat lady speaking right here...ohboy). 

Verdict: I’m so happy that David Chang decided to bring momofuku to Toronto! Now I can have my pork buns without the 10 hour drive (yeah, I know I’m not the one driving but still haha). I had late dinner at daishō last week with a couple of friends, and it was fantastic! (post to come…after midterms are finished).HAPPY EATING!! 
(PS. milk bar, come to Toronto please!!)

5 out of 5 NOM
Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I can't wait to try this when I head to NYC during christmas! :) :)

    1. jelly, you travel so often!! But yes, you'll def hv a blast!

  2. Great post! I love their noodle bar, so I really need to try that one!

  3. I am very grateful for sharing such information.