It’s 8.30am Saturday morning. We’ve been in Vegas exactly 1.5 days and I’m already feeling 100% like the gargantuan blobs of fat people laboriously dragging themselves up and down the Strip. It’s no wonder though, the food in Vegas is insanely enormous and preeeetty unhealthy. But more about that later.
Right now I’m craving for some of the semi-healthy food we had in NYC’s Momofuku restaurants and even satiating my sweet tooth at Milk Bar feels like chewing on a celery stick compared to what I ate yesterday. What a sneak peek? Seriously? Ok, this is my friend Sophie and a chicken and waffle stack from Hash House A Go Go.
I shit you not.
It’s no secret that when I dined at Momofuku Ko in December [shaved foie gras], I was completely [shaved foie gras] and utterly [shaved foie gras] blown away by the experience. Wait, did someone say shaved foie gras?
So I was looking forward to checking out David Chang’s various incarnations of his Momofuku brand – Ssäm Bar, Noodle Bar, Má Pêche and Milk Bar – and managed to get to three. I missed out on Má Pêche but word on the street has it that it’s not the best anyways so all good. One thing his establishments all have in common despite varied menus is the decor – simple, clean, wooden interiors making for casual eating and a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. I like it.
On Sunday night last week, we walked all the way from our hotel on 44th down to the East Village and met Ken and Jackie (and significant others) for dinner at Ssäm Bar. I really didn’t care what we ordered, I just wanted pork buns and pork buns we got.
Momofuku pork buns
The pork buns are TO DIE FOR. Everyone compares these buns to the ones at Ippudo and everyone seems to have their favourite. I love them both, is that so bad? They are mostly the same thing – soft-as-cloud buns filled to the brink with juicy pork belly. Ippudo’s bun is dressed in a slightly spicy mayo sauce and Momofuku’s is a sweet soy sauce. They both ROCK MY WORLD.
Other Ssäm Bar dishes include…
American wagyu tataki with sweet potato, radish & yuzu
Short rib sandwich with taleggio, beet slaw & nueske’s bacon
Fuji apple kimchi with maple labne & jowl bacon
YUM. Sweet apple in spicy kimchi sauce. And bacon! Because bacon goes with everything. Genius.
Fish ball hot pot with littleneck clams, sepia & young coconut
Braised oxtail dumplings with turnip, satsuma & shia kombu
Grilled trout with kabocha squash, peekytoe crab & pepitas
I’ve forgotten the name of this dish! It was fish – cod I think – with barley and other bits that were just delicious
Pickled p.e.i. mussels with kohlrabi, kale & shishito peppers
Overall I thought Ssäm Bar was ok, not mind blowing but enjoyable. The pork buns were my favourite of course, followed very closely by the apple kimchi and fish ball hot pot. Anyway, the company though was fabulous and after indulging in savouries, we shimmied next door to Milk Bar for dessert. As you do.
But before I go onto Milk Bar, here’s Noodle Bar. After some serious walking last Wednesday, Panu and I were craving the pork buns again and decided to go get them, but at Noodle Bar instead. Again, there’s discussion about whose ramen is better – Momofuku or Ippudo? Well, this is the Momofuku ramen:
Momofuku ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder & a poached egg
And the verdict? Kinda tough but I have to say I like Ippudo’s ramen better. The broth is much tastier at Ippudo but two brownie points for Noodle Bar? The queue is minimal and there’s a butt load more pork in each serve.
Lastly, we have Milk Bar, Momofuku’s much loved dessert arm. Everyone had been bugging me to try their cereal milk soft serve (which also comes as just milk or in a milk shake). And so I did. It was pretty good and actually brought back toddler memories because it pretty much tastes like Nestum in an ice cream If I had to compare it to say… Hawksmoor’s corn flake ice cream though? Corn flake ice cream is better.
Cereal milk soft serve
Oh for some reason, the cereal flavour is much stronger in the milk shake than the soft serve. FYI.
Soft serve sampler with chocolate, french toast, cereal milk…
and I don’t remember the last one…
We also had some cookies and finally, the crowning glory of Momofuku (to me anyway), the cake truffles. What are the cake truffles? Basically Momofuku makes a bunch of cakes like birthday cake, apple pie cake, chocolate malt cake etc. They then take the cake and roll little balls out of them, making delicious bite sized cake truffles!
Please, if you go, you must have the birthday cake truffles.
And no, I didn’t have the crack pie.
Momofuku cookies, cake truffles and cereal milk shake
So there we have it! Momofuku’s trifecta. And here I sit, now 9.01am in my hotel room and I am hungry again despite the disgusting eating yesterday. Cereal and fruit room service, I think!
Momofuku Ssäm Bar
207 2nd Ave (corner 13th Street)
East Village, NY, 10003
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave (between 10th and 11th)
East Village, NY, 10003
Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave (corner 13th Street) – there’s also one on 56th
East Village, NY, 10003