One of the meals we didn’t book for our NY trip was dinner at momofuku ssäm bar. Organised by the man responsible for our NY trip, the groom-to-be and one of my best friends who I have known since the age of four. Naturally the bo ssäm was ordered upon booking meaning when we arrived all we had to concern ourselves with was drinks and conversation (and in that order :P).
With a group of ten consisting of the bride- and groom-to-be, the bride’s mom, the groom’s mum, dad & brother, and the tag-alongs of Jason, Felicity, Lex & myself we had a pretty packed table.
steamed buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions ($10.00).
With the bo ssäm on the way and drinks ordered it was only natural to order some pork buns, it is momofuku after all. Plump buns with quite impressive portions of pork belly with the faintest hint of sauce and a few shreds of scallions (shallots :P). All that was needed was a restrained lashing of sriracha and it was game on.
Famously good for a reason, the pork buns never seem to disappoint. Sticky soft bun and a gorgeously cooked chunk of pork belly that was soft and unctuous. I sure did love this pork bun but felt bad telling our NY friends that those at momofuku seiōbo were better by a good margin.
bo ssäm – whole pork butt, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice, lettuce ($200.00).
nb: the bo ssäm meal is for parties of 6-10 guests and it must be reserved in advance.
When the bo ssäm is ordered you also get a dozen oysters for the table. A dozen oysters amongst ten seems like a recipe for trouble, but when only Lex & I actually eat oysters it then shifts from being a battle to a smorgasbord. From East Beach in Rhode Island they were quite enjoyable with a savoury earthy tone to them. I think I ate 8 of them.
First to arrive in preparation for the bo ssäm is the bibb lettuce. Meticulously cleaned, separated and presented in a bowl as if it were only just picked it looked like a mighty fine bowl of green. Ssäm is Korean for wrapped or enclosed and as such this is the whole idea of the dish, to wrap the pork in the lettuce and enjoy, cutlery free.
Accompanying the lettuce and bo ssäm were a few condiments. Korean hot BBQ sauce that was not all that hot and not all that BBQ either, minced scallions that really turned out to be a star, and kimchi and kimchi puree that were nearly identical besides the texture. Each of them were enjoyable but my sriracha addiction meant the wait staff needed to bring the bottle back. For me the sriracha was the only condiment that really suited the bo ssäm.
Now upon first glimpse the bo ssäm seemed quite small when it arrived at the table – well, small for ten people – but don’t let this fool you, we found out very quickly that it was the perfectly cooked pork shoulder that just kept on giving.
Slow cooked for a stupidly awesome amount of time and glazed with copious amounts of brown sugar there is no way you could choose a better way to serve pork for a shared group meal.
Having attended a pork cooking master class and eaten my fair share of slow cooked pork in the past I knew where to dig for gold. The dark meat was my target and I made sure to share… mostly. Wrapped in lettuce with a touch of rice and a squirt of sriracha the bo ssäm was incredible, sticky and sweet, soft and giving, spicy and punchy all in one mouthful. Perfect.
Each of the sides gave a different view to the pork, the kimchi and the kimchi puree were nice, but there was something about them that wasn’t my style. The Korean BBQ sauce was quite a treat also, but again and again it was the sriracha that I kept coming back to. Only the minced scallions & ginger sauce was able distract me from dousing every little ounce of pork with it.
Although we were in and out within an hour it felt like so much longer, I do suppose time flies when having fun. It was a great night, good company and a top meal – what else could you ask for? Something I would definitely do again when I am back in NY.
From momofuku it was then time to make some hard decisions, do we head back to the apartment or kick on… we were in NY – it was time to get our drink on. Sadly the parent’s needed to split and the bride and groom too, so it was just the 4 of us left to hit up the town, and we did so in style.
momofuku ssäm bar
207 2nd Avenue
(at 13th Street)
New York NY 10003
momofuku ssäm bar Website