Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New York: Momofuku Ssam Bar - Day 3

To end our 3rd day in New York, we had dinner at one of the most popular restaurant in NY, Momofuku Ssam Bar.  I made a reservation weeks ago and only ended up with a 10:30pm slot.  Nevertheless, we prepped ourselves so we can eat to our heart's content and I can honestly say, I've never been this excited for a meal!

So the big thing at Ssam Bar is the Bo Ssam Dinner.  For $200, you get to feast on a 7-10lb pork shoulder that has been slowly oven-roasted for hours!  They say it feeds 5-10 people, but really... you gotta have some big eaters to kill it.  Ssam literally means wrapped in Korean, and it generally refers to food wrapped with lettuce or other greens.  It's a fairly healthy way of eating... until you get a huge piece of pork in front of you.

I will say though, the pictures for this post is absolutely horrible.  After a day's worth of activities and recovering from St. Pat's still, I just didn't want to carry the DSLR with me anymore, so I opted for the Panasonic P&S.  It does well in low-light setting, but blah, miscalculated.  Didn't think it would be THAT dark at the restaurant.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave
Between 13th St & 12th St
East Village
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Ssam Bar!


steamed buns

We started off with some of the famous David Chang's Steamed Bun.  It is essentially a Taiwanese Gua Bao.  Super soft & tender pork belly, with hoisin sauce, cucumber, and scallions.

pork belly, cucumber, hoisin, scallions
Awesome awesome awesome pork belly.

naked cowgirl oysters

Naked Cowgirl Oysters.  Super fresh.

Small, but creamy and delicate.  I'm not a fan of oysters, but these I can eat.

bibb & sauce
Lettuce bib for the ssam.

Sauce for the pork belly but I didn't really use it.

pork butt slow roasted

Finally!  The pork arrives and it was a huuuuuge piece of pork.  Roast a pork shoulder for 6-8 hours with simple brown sugar and kosher salt rub results in this amazing chunk of pork. Most of the flavor is from the pork itself but the crust was great with the sugar all caramelized.

brown sugar, soy sauce
What an awesome color.

Toppings for the pork and for wrapping.

scallion & ginger
This was the best: Ginger Scallion Sauce.  Exactly what it sounds like.  I think we asked for this to be refilled like 3 times haha.

Of course, gotta have kimchi!

chopped kimchi
They even provided chopped kimchi!  Think of it as Korean salsa haha.

Ssam sauce or "Korean BBQ sauce" as they called it.  Didn't care too much for this.  Ginger scallion sauce all the way!

Some white rice to curb the pork overload.

My little creation: pork, kimchi, chopped kimchi, some crispy pork skin, ginger scallion sauce, and a piece of the oyster to give it a different dimension!

off the bone tender
The pork was very juicy and I did expect a lot of fat but the cut was a good mix!  This was the aftermath... and as you can see we failed at finishing it :P  Probably still a good 2-3 pounds left.

Really though, after about 3-4 wraps, I had to change it up, either with different amount of toppings, difference sauces, with rice, or even just using a different part of the pork! It gets really heavy and towards the end, I just grabbed the bowl of rice and started to eat the pork like a charsu pork rice bowl with some kimchi haha. In the end, the 8 of us only killed about 4-5 lbs out of the 8-pounder that we got. Pretty sad...

Is it worth the $200? Besides the meat sweat, I say yes, especially in a big group. We had a blast and it is such a primal experience, just tearing off the juicy pork and eating with our hands! Next time I will probably just order off the regular menu, but still definitely an experience and am really glad I got to feast on the glorious pig shoulder with 7 of my good friends!