Momofuku’s Famous Pork Buns

Yes, I made them.

And they are pretty f***ing good.

Oooh, did I say that? Chalk it up to me channeling the one and only David Chang, the potty-mouthed, no-holds-barred New York chef sensation who created these wonderfully pillowy steamed buns stuffed with juicy, fatty-delicious pork belly.

How good are they? When my husband and I visited New York last year, we ate these pork buns three out of four days we were there. If they were on the menu, we simply had to have them.

Chang serves these at his Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, and Momofuku Milk Bar bakery. They’re so popular that you’d be hard-pressed to walk into any of these establishments and not find them gracing every table.

The recipe comes from the “Momofuku” cookbook (Clarkson Potter), written by Chang and New York Times writer Peter Meehan.

Making them at home is straight-forward, but does take some effort.

You have to marinate, cook, cool, and neatly slice the pork belly.

You have to make the quick pickles, which are so easy and fantastic tasting.

And you have to buy or make the buns. Yes, I actually made them — all 50 of them by hand. Whew.

These little bundles of sweet-salty-tangy porkiness would be great for a cocktail or dinner party. Or heck, just indulge by wolfing down a small mountain of them for dinner, yourself.

One bite, and you may just find yourself cursing to the high heavens a` la David Chang, too.

Find my review of the coobook, as well as the recipes to make the pork buns at ProjectFoodie.com.

More: My Q&A with David Chang

More: David Chang’s Visit to Kepler’s in Menlo Park

More: My Adventures Eating at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssam Bar

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Date: Wednesday, 24. February 2010 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Asian Recipes, Chefs, General, More Food Gal -- In Other Publications, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants

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56 comments

  1. 1

    Food Gal, you are killing me. It is 7am as I am reading this and I am positive I could eat at least four of these right now. I’ve been hearing about these for awhile now and though have never had them from the source, I’ve been craving them. Looks like I can make them myself, if I can get my act together. Yours look picture-perfect!

  2. 2

    I had already planned to make some pork belly sandwiches this weekend with a different method but now I’m going to have to get David’s book and make this another weekend.

    Why do you torture me so?

  3. 3

    a small mountain for myself–yes please. you have no idea how good these look.

  4. 4

    It does take work but I was amazed to see how easy the pork belly prep was in the book.

    Mad props to you for making the buns!!!! That’s a lot of time and hard work but at least you had tasty food in the end :)

  5. 5

    I had been wanting to make these buns since David Chang made them on Martha Stewart show several months ago. Procrastination no more. A small mountain of these juicy buns would be lovely right about now.

  6. 6

    I just got my hold notice at the library that I can go pick up the Momofuku cookbook at the library today (yay!). I don’t know if I’ll actually make the pork buns; I’m checking out the cookbook more to oggle at the food. But if the book has the recipe for the rice cake/noodles that I had at Ssam bar, I may be tempted to try making that!

  7. 7

    I heard an interview with Chef Chang (probably Good Food w/ Evan Klieman) and he was so humble about his steamed buns. He said something like, next time you find yourself making a loaf of white bread, like Wonder bread, steam it, don’t bake it and you’ll probably get something similar. You, Carolyn, making 50 steamed buns in one full swoop are equally as humble… and I am equally impressed. Gorgeous!!

  8. 8

    These looked delicious in his book, and you make them look even more delicious (and approachable). I’m definitely making these.

    This rocks. Thanks!

  9. 9

    wow-these look so delicious! And cursing is a given when cooking (and sometimes eating), isn’t it?

  10. 10

    Oh man, those look amazing Carolyn! And that pork. Wow. Absolutely mouthwatering.

  11. 11

    That pork looks amazing! I have thinking about getting the Momofuku book and now I definitely will.

    Nice to “meet” another Bay Area food-lover and fellow Columbia grad.

  12. 12

    Erin: I’m a native of the Bay Area, but actually I did not graduate from Columbia. I received a writing award from its grad. journalism program a few years back when I was a food writer for the San Jose Mercury News. The awards for exceptional diversity writing were given out during a Columbia U. conference all about reporting on diversity issues. It was one of the best I’ve ever attended.

  13. 13

    OK, so the question is do you have any leftovers from those 50 buns? ;-) I totally would rent a car again to drive to your place to get one! (I still have memories of eating the pork belly buns at Ssam Bar.)

  14. 14

    You did a great job. They look incredible! The quick pickles look like a delicious topping.

  15. 15

    Carolyn this is f** awesome, the caramelized pork in the buns is make me drooling….I understand why is so famous :)

    Have a great week,

    Gera

  16. 16

    Holy Shitsky! I am way impressed with this C. And here I was bragging about saving chicken fat for schmaltz.

  17. 17

    WOW! Those buns look amazing! 50 by hand?

  18. 18

    I think I’d be in the “wolfing down a small mountain of them for dinner” category!

  19. 19

    um, i bow down to you. the end.
    okay, that’s not the end. bravo! the buns alone would be stellar, and with the added fat-tastic pork belly, buddy, i’d be in heaven.

  20. 20

    Single Guy Ben: I have a dozen or so leftover buns in the freezer. But you have to supply your own pork belly. Meat Boy (the hubster) demolished all of that, as you probably guessed. ;)

  21. 21

    I would imagine that the buns are good with roast duck too!

  22. 22

    Carolyn, we must be psychically linked! I made David Chang’s pork buns today! Yours look fab!

  23. 23

    OMG! Those pork buns look f****** incredible! I’m drooling! I’ve been going nuts with that cookbook, myself. I just posted about Chang’s amazing Bo Ssam. Took forever to make, but so worth it. These buns are going to have to be my next try. I just have to figure out where I can get some pork belly around here.

  24. 24

    Wow, the pork looks amazing… Foodgal you are such an inspiration! It takes quite a lot to get me thinking about making bread, but these just look and sound so good.

  25. 25

    These look so awesome! Definitely a must try!

  26. 26

    WHOA! Amazing pictures. Chewy steamed buns and charred pork belly. Does it get any better?!?! Beautiful post.

  27. 27

    You made these, you amazing, adventurous foodie, you! OMG. I love these buns!! I wish I had a Momofuku cookbook…all his creations sound freaking amazing, and I love his unique twists on things.

  28. 28

    Love it! These look insanely fabulous!

  29. 29

    Looks amazing! I wish that I could have one right now. This is the inspiration that I need to actually make them myself. Thanks Carolyn!

  30. 30

    I’ve never been a big fan of Momofuku, but I do love the pork buns!

  31. 31

    Wow! Those look delicious! I’m going to have to get a copy of that cookbook! Must…have….pork….buns….

  32. 32

    You made them from scratch? Wow. Very niceeee. ;)

  33. 33

    The Chinese (Hokkien) has a pork bun like this too – braised pork bun and very good!

  34. 34

    I don’t own a copy of this book yet…have been living vicariously through everyone’s reviews/posts about the recipes they’ve tried.
    I think this one just sealed the deal. Time to grab a copy for myself!

  35. 35

    Great job on the pork buns CJ! Colby wants to come over to eat a few.

  36. 36

    Oh my – when you look up food porn, as much as I hate that term – this picture should be there – sums it all up!

  37. 37

    so delicious, cant wait to try againhttp://digitalphotographytemplates.blogspot.com/

  38. 38

    damn…now I want to make these again. I’ve served these for various groups of friends, and it’s always been a hit. And for the most part, it’s easy, too.

  39. 39

    bravo!!! kudos to you for making everything from scratch. we cheated and bought the buns when we made ours.

  40. 40

    OK. This is so worth the time! We may have to try that recipe for the bun itself as that seems to be the most daunting part.

  41. 41

    I’m headed to NY this summer and this is going on the must eat list! These look incredible!

  42. 42

    Lovely. And delicious, too. Without Chang’s attitude but with your way, way, way better style and class.

  43. 43

    Kudos to you for making everything from scratch! How long did it take you? Like an entire day? Or more than one day????

    Gotta say your photo is one of the best I’ve seen yet of that dish.

  44. 44

    Jen: It took a few days to make it all, but a lot of it was inactive time. For instance, you have to marinate the pork for up to 24 hours, then you roast it, then you refrigerate it so it firms up enough to slice easily. Then the day you plan on eating it all, you make the pickles, which takes no time at all. And if you’re like me and make the buns, then that does take a few hours. But once you get into the groove of rolling and folding them, it doesn’t take too long at all to do.

  45. 45

    God I love those things. Fantastic job!

  46. 46

    I am now determined to find the time to make some! (with store bought buns, of course) I’ve never had it, but love pork belly. My parents actually discovered how easy it was to take skin-on pork belly and roast in the oven with just salt and lemon juice to get crispy-skinned roast pork like from the chinese deli’s. Also very non-intimidating. Thanks so much for sharing!

  47. 47

    Everyone who’s ever said anything to me about these pork buns always speaks of them with drool coming out of the corners of their mouths. I have this cookbook and didn’t bother to crack it open until I saw your photos here.

  48. 48

    Oh my gosh these look simply mouthwatering! I must. get. that. cookbook!

  49. 49

    i am gonna try this tomorrow~ ^_^ meat is marinating in the fridge. wish me luck

    p/s: ur step by step guide in project foodie is awesome~

  50. 50

    Edda: Oooh, I am so psyched to hear about how your pork buns come out. I’m sure you will love them. And I’m sure a long line will be forming outside your front door from everyone reading this who wants to sample them. ;)

  51. 51

    I did it!!! I didn’t make the buns (I used mantous/milk buns) and they were awesome!!! The man asked where I bought the pork. ^__^

    I am surprised how good the meat was considering all it needed was sugar and salt and time sitting in the fridge!

    Thanks for posting this!

  52. 52

    Applause for Edda, everyone! Woo hooo! That’s awesome that you made them.So glad you enjoyed the pork buns.

  53. 53

    [...] an obsession after reading about the infamous Momofuku buns and drooling over Foodgal’s post here,  The plate came with four fluffy buns, smeared with hoisin and filled with a thick piece of pork [...]

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    [...] If any of you think you want to make some of those Pork belly deliciousnessess… i found the recipe here at Food gal’s blog… its great… you can also find her on twitter [...]

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