Momofuku: fusion without the confusion

I’ll admit it, I’m a Momofuku groupie. I know, there must be thousands of them around the world planning the next time they can line up for one of those steamed pork buns or burst open that poached eggy goodness into their ramen bowl. There must also be thousands of blog entries all talking about this amazing restaurant that has revolutionised the culinary landscape in New York and probably (gasp) the world…

…Did I really make such a sweeping statement? I did, and honestly, I believe it. You would too if you like to eat at restaurants that consistently offer a highly creative menu blending together interesting flavour combinations with quality ingredients.

Enter the Chang…“We’re just trying to serve good food, regardless of the price” is what he says. This statement is pure genius and what I think is the key ingredient to his success. Pretty simple, I know, but let me elaborate on a conversation Mikee and I had about this idea…

Between us, we’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants around the world – some cheap and cheerful and some your credit card bill might be feeling for a while. But which ones have been the most memorable culinary experiences? I don’t mean memories of a white-gloved waiter ever-so-gently placing your handbag on a custom-built handbag stool; I mean actual food – dishes you can’t get out of your head, ones that you’ll travel the distance for.

For both of us, our most memorable meals come from the mid-priced restaurants. The Billy Kwong’s of this world, who serve a caramelised pork belly that is crispy on the outside and oozes all of its gooey goodness into your mouth for less than AU$30. If I think back to the last fancy dinner I had at Ciel Bleu, a two Michelin starred restaurant, I honestly can’t remember how any of the dishes from the 10 course degustation tasted. Well I certainly haven’t savoured the textures and flavours from any of the dishes like I have with Billy Kwong’s pork belly or Momofuku’s seared foie gras from the US$40 four course prix fixe menu.

So why do we remember the homely restaurant cousins Billy Kwong and Momofuku better than the grandiose 250 EUR degustation at the Michelin star restaurant? Mikee and I think it comes down to a very simple thing – the price. Maybe it’s because we have lower expectations with a lower price tag or maybe we’re just comparing apples to oranges, but whatever it is, this “good food regardless of the price” motto is giving us easy access to quality food and that is what people are waiting in line for.

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 first ave (cross st: 10th)
New York, NY

7 Responses to “Momofuku: fusion without the confusion”
  1. fooddreamer says:

    Another great review. You write so well, I get such a good sense of what you mean, what the experience was like, it’s just a joy to read.

    • jennynoowyn says:

      Well that comment was a joy to read 😉 thank you for the kind words, took me a while to get this one out (writer’s block) so it’s good to get some positive feedback!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love the motto. And, it’s so true. I mean, who can turn down awesome food when it doesn’t stifle your wallet? And that stuff looks delicious. I want some like right now. 😛

  3. I wish I had been aware of the Momofuku phenomenon when I visited NYC last. I would have been one happy girl. I agree with you–at the end of the day, it’s about good food. Will have to try something from the Momofuku cookbook soon!

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