DISCLAIMER: This is post is in no way, shape, or form, a health post. In fact, I think my arteries are clogging just looking at these pictures. The Ssam Bar menu revolves around pork, and the very air in the restaurant is infused with pork particles. But the food was so good, it was definitely worth it.
Wow, I am absolutely exhausted. It’s been a long, hectic weekend.. And to think that the weekend isn’t even over yet..
Well, today’s post is about Friday’s fooding adventure. My dear friend Euna had made reservations at Momofuku Ssam Bar for her birthday party – it was something that I had been looking forward to for a looong time.
The 4 Momofuku restaurants are owned by a culinary genius named David Chang. With his Asian fusion cuisine, he’s been taking over the fooding world and is one of the biggest “it” chefs in New York right now. I’ve been reading about the Momofukus in NYC blogs everywhere and I COULD NOT WAIT to try this food. I was literally counting down the hours to our reservation on Friday night.
When we got to the Ssam Bar, the place was PACKED. Holy bejeezus. It’s not a very big restaurant, but every seat (and nook, and cranny) was jammed with eager, pork-hungry diners awaiting their plates of deliciousness. Our reservation was at 11 PM and the lighting in the restaurant was pretty dim, so I apologize for the not-so-very-well-illuminated photos. After about 15 minutes of waiting (in which everyone complained loudly how DARN HUNGRY we were), our party was finally seated and given menus.
The other girls didn’t really order anything, since we were all gonna stuff ourselves on the Bo Ssam. But Euna and I decided to order a few small plates/appetizers that we wanted to try while we were here.
Looking at the menu, I decided to go for the seasonal stuff. I always find that seasonal items are really good, no matter what restaurant I go to, because the ingredients are at the peak of their deliciousness, and they’re very fresh. Plus, the ingredients being in season means the dish is a little cheaper, and it’s only for a limited time, so I wanted to get it while I could.
I decided to get the foraged lily shoots because I was kind of intrigued by it – when else would I ever get to eat lily shoots? And although I was eating out that night, I still wanted to stay somewhat healthy, and this sounded like it fit the bill perfectly.
I enjoyed this dish a lot – texturally, the lily shoots kind of reminded me of scallions, but instead of being oniony, they were almost floral in flavor. The prawns were raw, but they were fresh and a great textural contrast with the sunflower seeds. To sum it up, it was spring a spoonful and absolutely yummalicious.
Euna and I decided to split the next dish because we both had heard a lot about it on various NYC eating blogs.
I was looking forward to eating it because although uni (i.e. sea urchin roe) is not my favorite sashimi, I do enjoy it. Euna, on the other hand, had never had uni before. But this dish was kind of strange.. The whipped tofu was sort of tart in flavor, I didn’t really enjoy the tapioca balls that were at the bottom of this dish. The uni itself was great – briny and fresh – but when I ate all the components of the dish into one spoonful, they didn’t harmonize like the ingredients in my lily shoot dish had.
BUT the next dish more than made up for the lack o’ deliciousness in the uni.
THIS WAS SO GOOD. It was like ddukbbokgee taken to the next level. The dduk was fried, which made them beautifully crunchy on the outside, but still so soft and chewy on the inside. The dish was spicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and everyone on the table was eating this like there was no tomorrow.
While we were eating our appetizers, the waiters slowly began setting the side dishes of the BoSsam on the table.
The oysters were supposed to eaten in the bo ssam, wrapped together with pork in the lettuce, but they were so fresh and delicious I just ate them by themselves. Yum… I love oysters….
And then came the wrappings and sauces..
AND THEN IT CAME. THE PORK FOR WHICH WE HAD ALL BEEN DROOLING FOR, IN ALL 7 POUNDS OF ITS FATTY, MEATY, DELICIOUSNESSS.
Yeah, I know you can’t believe how good that looks. So I’ll give you another picture.
You would not believe how tender this pork butt was. I have never had meat so succulent and fall-apart-in-your-mouth delicious.
You can see how big the meat is in comparison to Euna’s hand. We all courteously let her eat the first ssam, but then we fell upon the pork LIKE ANIMALS.
What you’re supposed to do when eating bo ssam is take a lettuce, plop the pork on it, and add whatever condiments you want to on it (my favorite was the ginger scallion sauce). Then you roll it all up and eat it. And then you try not to eat it too fast because you want to savor all that juicy porkaliciousness, but you can’t help it because ITS SO GOOD AND YOU JUST WANT MOOOORE.
We were all so hungry, we stuffed ourselves silly in about 25 minutes. We couldn’t even finish the bo ssam, it was so big. When we done, it looked like this:
There was still so much meat left, so Euna had it packed up for her family and friends.
Then came… THE DESSERTS. We were so full, but you know what they say – there’s ALWAYS room for dessert. And we definitely had room for Momofuku desserts. So we got both of them :D
Do you guys know how much I love black sesame? I LOVE IT. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVEE the sweet nutty, roasty goodness. In fact, it’s my favorite ice cream flavor. So when I saw that streak of black sesame on this dessert plate, I literally felt like I could’ve taken the and licked it clean. But I restrained myself. Because it was even better when I ate it together with the grapefruit pie. The pie was tart, but paired together in with the black sesame, it was soooo good. Harmony in my mouth, I’m telling you. After the pie was finished, THEN I proceeded to scrape the rest of the black sesame paste off the plate.
The next dessert was…
the parfait. This too was a dessert that tasted amazing when all the components were eaten together. The lemon mascarporne ice cream was tart and tasted like lemon meringue pie, and it sort of clashed with the sweet Thai ice tea parfait. But eaten together with the crunchy, chocolate Rice-Crispy-esque, brown crisps, it was absolutely delicious. The rice crisps provided the perfect textural contrast for the other 2 soft elements in this dish.
At the end of the day, I definitely feel that Momofuku Ssam Bar is a place worth splurging at. I left so full, I felt like I had to be rolled out through the restaurant doors. I cannot wait to try the noodle bar and the milk bar on my next fooding adventures.
Look forward to more posts soon, because I’m having not one, but TWO barbecues at my house this Memorial Day weekend. I’m going to get so fat, and prom’s this Friday too. Oh, the joy of eating foods will be the death of me..