I hate to say this, but I am a hypocrite. I listen to reviews too much, and sometimes give recommendations based on others. And today, I was brought down to my knees at Momofuku Milk Bar.
There is nothing new about people raving about momofuku. And also nothing new about people thrashing it. After having their cakes from the milk bar, which I thought tasted weird, Momofuku dropped drastically in my priority list. I knew they had good food at the restaurant, but I thought, psh it’s probably fake chinese food made for the americans. Can’t be that great.
So my friends were in town and I thought, why not try the freaking expensive pork bun that he has at the milk bar. I mean, its just a pork bun. I have had many in Singapore and China, and what not. We even have it at home. It can’t be that great. I mean it’s just a pork bun. How good can it be??? Not to mention it cost 9 bucks for 2! Thats $4.50 for 1! That can get you 5 in Chinatown!
So we ordered it. It came pretty fast. Simple white chinese bun with 2 modest looking fatty pork slices, some cucumber and green onions and a drizzle of some slack sauce. It was kinda unique because the meat wasn’t colored. I am used to pork being braised in black sauce till its black in color.
And so there it was. That $4.50 pork bun that got Momofuku famous. In my head, I was like crazy americans for spending so much on one of the simplest street food you can get from the chinese. Seriously? How good can it be? I mean even I can make this. Just buy some buns and pork from chinatown. Braise the pork. Steam the buns. Cut some cucumbers and green onions. And there you go!
Went for the bite. My oh my… the bun was mildy sweet and fluffy. Exactly the way it should be. But lets move to the pork. This pork was O M G fantastic. I couldn’t believe how it melt in my mouth. The fat was extremely tasty and did not at all feel jellyish. It went so well with the sauce that was drizzled on top. It was a heavenly combination of sweet and saltiness that brought the juices of the cucumber and the freshness and brightness of the green onions together with the yummy savoriness of the pork slices, all in one soft fluffy asian bun. The flavors blend so well in the mouth, I had to go silent for a while as I allowed the orgasm to pass before I could open my mouth and tell my friends how amazing this pork bun is.
Again, wow. I have always been fascinated with how people take the simplest food and make it their own. Make it phenomenal. Something totally unexpected. David Chang. I saw you at your book signing at Barnes and Noble. And I dismissed you because I thought you were an Asian chef cooking to the likings of the Americans and exploiting simple asian cuisine to impress white people. And also because I was there to see Anthony Bourdain…
So I’m humbly admit I was wrong. And that I now bow down to you. For you are now known as the king of pork buns to me, or more affectionately known as Kong Ba Pao in Asia. Yesterday, I would not have believed anyone who told me that I will have the best pork bun in the US. In fact, I will probably judge them. But today, I stand corrected. David Chang, you are the man. I have no idea how you did it, but you are ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. And if your offer still stands as you mentioned during your book signing, I will gladly work for you for free. In fact, Im begging you to hire me…
So to everyone who reads this blog, I just want to say… walk to the milk bar right now if you haven’t tried the pork bun, get it and have the experience of your life for just $9. Seriously. $9?! It’s totally worth it. I would pay more.
Food Orgasm material. 5 stars.
Amazing photo taken by my wonderful friend, Chloe Chu.