Sunday, 26 October 2014

Momofuku Ssäm Bar 2007, Momofuku Seiōbo - The Star

Great. Best. Amazing.
Momofuku's infamous pork buns

Let's use all the strong words and superlatives here, shall we? Before we say anything else, let me just make it nice and simple to you: this is one of the best meals in 2014 for me. Expect no negative word on this post.

Taking part in Good Food Month's Hats Off Dinner, Momofuku Seiōbo brought their signature dishes of Ssäm Bar 2007, originally served in New York. I've always dreamt about their pork buns but this was actually the first time I witnessed such splendour.

Table setting

Although the event's over, I can still feel the excitement to meet all the gorgeous creation of David Chang. We didn't get to try them all, but I'm pretty happy with our selections of the night.

First up: the pork buns.

Where do I start?

Pork buns (pork belly, cucumber, scallion, hoisin sauce) - $18 (for 2)

Let's just go through the checklist.

Delicate, pillowy buns? Check.

Tender, succulent, fatty slice of pork belly? Check.

Two slices of pork belly? Check.

Flavour balance with the tasty hoisin sauce? Check.

Some cucumber to keep it all refreshed? Check.

Some squirts of sriracha? Check.

It's as good as they say, you guys. If not better. Totally deserve the popularity and hype.

Some fiery Sriracha came along.

Typically, tripe isn't the menu I choose whenever I encounter it at a restaurant. However, this is another whole new level of a trip-based dish.

The spicy honeycomb tripe was slightly challenging to take pictures of, but we certainly didn't have the slightest difficulty in polishing off the plate. The tripe pieces were tender enough but still having the chewy wonder that made me keep repeating 'this is amazing' multiple times while eating. The sauce was curry-based, rich and full of flavour outbursts.

Spicy honeycomb tripe - $18

The yolk was the ultimate icing on the cake, sexy and creamy and definitely worth dreaming about. Give me this plate with some rice anytime, any day.

Yolk porn!

The rice cakes looked rather plain on first glance, but we dug around and we were rewarded with generous amount of minced pork sausage. The coating sauce was incredibly wonderful with lovely trace of creaminess. The dominant punches, however, were the acidity and a little fire from the kimchi.

Rice cakes (with pork sausage, kimchi, kale) - $20

Another dish that we mopped clean. Super clean.

Them chewy rolls.

Everything was going really great, but then the marinated hanger steak ssäm came and we were mindblown through and through. The band came with aromatic ginger scallion, a bit of kimchi, and beautifully-prepped lettuce.

Marinated hanger steak ssäm (with ginger scallion, kimchi, bib lettuce) - $30

But the steak. The steak.

'This cow must've come from heaven', I said to Amy. Because it must be true. How else can a steak taste so absurdly good?

So tender but didn't completely let our jaws jobless, perfectly cooked with bright pink hues in the middle, and the level of deliciosuness of whatever marinade they use was stupefying.

One bite and I had to close my eyes, went completely silent, bowed my head. That's how good it was.

The one that stole my heart.

I almost ended up brushing off the other elements and eat the steak alone. But of course that didn't happen.

Wrap them all.

Tello's chawan mushi might seem a bit exxy, given that it came in a rather small bowl. But rest assured, it was worth every cent. Apart from the silky egg custard, the truffle sauce was utterly rich and creamy, and the tantalizing aroma of truffle played and pampered our senses. The snails were chewy, a great contrast against the soft elements.

Tello's chawan mushi (with truffle, snail, edamame, scallion) - $28

We had the pan roasted skate for dessert, and it was a great finish of the meal. After the robust flavour parties from the steak and chawan mushi, the skate did taste a tad bland, but it was still marvellous on every bite. It was cooked perfectly, resulting in crispy, caramelized edges and moist flesh.

Pan roasted skate (with brown butter and preserved lemon) - $24

Being seated at the open-kitchen benches, we got first row seats for some awesome kitchen actions.

Pork buns station.



Plating the delicate poached egg.

We planned the visit well and managed to get in early in the evening. Or else we'd find ourselves in the everlasting line.

20:00 line

Ssäm Bar or not, Momofuku will see a lot more of me from now on.


Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000

Rating: 5/5 (Must try)
The pork buns alone are worth the trip, service is great and quick, ambiance is nice and comfortable with interesting open-kitchen view, price is relatively high-end but so worth it.



The Star
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont
Sydney, NSW 2009

Phone: (02) 9777 9000

Web: Momofuku Seiōbo

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Night Noodle Markets 2014, Hyde Park - Sydney

Novelties, crowds, and lanterns.
Wonderbao's pride: the gua baos.

Lots of lanterns.

I know the post is probably a tad bit late, but Night Noodle Markets in back and it's literally bigger than ever. And more crowded than ever too, apparently. Between big assignments and food poisoning (not fun, believe me), I barely have time to put my feet up and having intimate moment with a bowl of ice cream, let alone visiting this great event too often. I did go twoce though, before things got too hectic and ugly in my life.

I'll let the pictures talk once again, but look out for the red, bold names because they are my absolute highlights and favourites of this year's NNM.


Red lanterns. Lots of them. So great for selfies.

Hoy Pinoy is a new contributor this year, comes all the way from Melbourne. This MUST be one of your priorities as soon as you touch down the park. The pork belly skewers are one of the bests I've tried during my visits; tender and succulent with lip-smacking, tasty marinade. And I was also informed that the marinade involves some banana ketchup. Banana ketchup!

Hoy Pinoy: pork belly skewers ($10 for 2) with rice and unripe papaya/atchora ($3)

The chicken inasals are not inferior either; juicy, boneless chicken chunks with sticky, sweet marinade that will make you seriously consider whether or not you should spend the next $50 on these skewers alone.

Hoy Pinoy: chicken inasal - $10 for 2

Wonderbao stall. Finally we meet!


Did somebody say they've seen too many of these in social medias lately? I don't know what you're talking aBAOt.

Wonderbao, another visitor from Melbourne, is one of the main reasons I have such high determination to visit NNM this year. They offer the gua baos and normal, closed buns, but we settled happily with the gua baos alone.

Eat ALL the baos!

Two of the baos have pork belly, and my preference goes to the braised pork belly with pickled mustard leaves, coriander, and crushed peanuts. Oh that tender pork belly, with crunchy and tangy mustard leaves and some sprinkles of crushed peanuts; too amazing for words. The fried tofu is surprisingly remarkable as well with crispy skin and silky innards. The buns themselves are pillowy soft.

Wonderbao gua baos - $20 for 3

Jackie M's char kway teow is another must-try. It's rather fiery and the wok hei is profound with some lovely charred edges here and there. I wish I wasn't sharing this. Best CKT I've had, hands down.

Jackie M's char kway teow - $18

How pretty are these?


I've been meaning to try Harajuku Gyoza but never got the chance. When I saw the name on the attendance list, I made sure to get everything on the menu. Our best choice is the chicken kaarage; juicy and tender chunks of lightly battered chicken with some aioli. Lots of adoration is poured more onto the moist pork gyoza; perfectly pan fried. The salted caramel gyoza serves well as a light dessert with warm, oozy salted caramel inside the fried jacket.

Harajuku Gyoza: (clockwise) chicken karaage, pork gyoza, salted caramel gyoza with ice cream, duck gyoza



Bao Stop's stall: bao making action.

Bao Stop's baos: fried chicken gua bao (would be much better with some more moisture on the chicken) and braised pork belly gua bao (winner between the two; tender pork belly with perfect amount of fat layer and great condiments) - $7.5 ea


Lion dance!

XLB making action at New Shanghai stall.

Woofy's dogs.

Gelato Messina.

Have you had your Messina today?


Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar with their epic pot luck creations is beyond popular with sweettooth and non-sweettooth alike. Come late and find yourself across the park lining up for one of their creative products.

I came the second time just for this and really, no regrets. This one's Street Hawker: lime & chocolate brownie, peanut gelato, coconut & caramel jam, fortune cookie clusters, and a giant peanut cookie.

While the peanut gelato is as unbelievably awesome as usual, and all the cookies give great texture contrast, I find that eating the whole thing can be quite a struggle for a person. There are so many things happening in the cup!

Gelato Messina's Lucky Fortune Bar: Street Hawker - $9

Let's Go Yumcha: chicken siumays, har gaos, vegetarian dumpling ($10 for 5)

Because I like stalking other people's food.

Jackie M's roti canai. Looks great.

Korean potato on a stick. Crowd pleaser, as per usual.

Panda lantern on the entry.

And the neko (lucky) cat that cannot be missed!


I barely scratched the surface of the event and honestly, there are so many things I wanna try there. Let's see if I can make another visit before it's gone for another year!

A tip: come early. They start at 4 on weekdays and 5 on weekends, and it would be super beneficial if you can come even earlier than that. Go straight to the stalls that may develop crazy queue soon enough. Some of the food has huge novelty factors but hey, it's an annual event, surely we can all have some fun with some rice burgers and pad thai hot dogs, right?

At least go pay Wonderbao a visit before 26th October!

P. S. Check Michael's (I'm Still Hungry) unbelievably detailed and borderline fanatical post of NNM here. You'll be drooling all over your keyboard.

Currency: $1 = IDR 11,000



Hyde Park
Elizabeth St
Sydney, NSW 2000

Good Food Month 2014
Night Noodle Markets 2014

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bun Mese, Darlinghurst - Sydney

Nothing like a mouthful of Vietnamese pork roll after a long day.
Bun Mese's Vietnamese rolls

And maybe a few scoops of ice cream too. But mainly the Vietnamese pork rolls.

I've never been to Bun Mese's actual location in Darlinghurst, but I get to sample each of its roll creation thanks to their generosity. It is said that the three founders and owners, Jada Vi, Huy Nguyen, and Johnny Tran have done their extensive research in order to formulate the best roll with their 'perfect amount of crunch and chew'.

Such generous package!

The menu list isn't like any other Vietnamese bread roll shop; there's no 'chicken roll' or 'BBQ pork roll' on the catalogue, instead, you'll read it with piqued attention to the names of 'Cha Cha Chicken' and 'Pigsy'.

I'll refrain from explaining in great detail for each of them or I'll spend your whole day story-telling.

Just the half of them

Bun Mese's roll itself is very praiseworthy. The bread is as promised; crusty outside and fluffy inside. For those who are fearful of crusty bread cutting your lips and gums, rest assured, this one will do no such sin. The vegetables are given generously; a multitude of pickled carrots, cucumber, shallot, coriander, lovely tangy daikon, and chopped red chillies.

Slathers of mayo, and pate in some, are in a perfect ratio to get the delicious  juices flowing without spoiling the crustiness of the bread.
However, among the six, here's my favourite.

The Pigsy.

When BBQ pork comes into my sight, I tend to overlook other things. The world suddenly rotates around the juicy, (usually) sticky meat and the sparks between us are so tangible.

I'm quite impressed about the amount of BBQ pork in this roll. The irresistible sweetness from the meat is laced firmly on every bite, lifting the overall climax.

Pigsy - roasted pork with pate and hoisin sauce, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, shallot, coriander, and hot chillies

As someone who would go to Marrickville just to get Vietnamese pork roll fix, I declare my undying love for the classic pork roll with those three layers of pork squished happily in their colourful friends. Some mayo and pate; I'll be happy to eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Ol' School roll ticks all the right boxes.

And the pate is superb. I usually don't like pate and hate it when it goes too potent on my pork roll, but this one is just right.

Ol' school - the classic pork roll with three layers of pork

The Disco Beef, Cha Cha Chicken and Peaking Duck are no less delightful with each of its own superiority. The beef fillet is tender and juicy, combining gracefully with the creamy mayo. Both birds are also succulent, and although I don't know what exactly the special sauce is, it sure is tasty.

Disco beef - beef eye fillet, mayo, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, shallot, coriander, and hot chillies

Cha cha chicken - chicken strips in special sauce and pate


Peaking duck - roast duck with pate and hoisin sauce

I actually applauded myself for enjoying the The Vege so much. I'm not usually this excited about vegetarian options but them mushrooms! So juicy and the mix of the sauce intensifies the flavour. And I'm telling you, mentioning this one last doesn't mean I like them the least. Herbivores or carnivores; you'll adore this healthy piece of beauty.

The Vege - shitake mushrooms, mayo, cucumber, carrots, daikon, shallot, coriander, chilli, and special soy sauce

I don't know if it's just me, but I kinda prefer my chillies to be sliced instead of chopped. Personal taste, of course.


I don't give ratings to non-restaurant reviews but I can confirm the rolls' deliciousness. They surely did not do the research in vain.

Disclaimer: Irene's Getting Fat! receives Bun Mese rolls courtesy from Bun Mese and The Bamboo Garden. Thank you guys very much! However, all opinions based on my personal taste.



Shop 2, 304 Victoria Street
Darlinghust, NSW 2010

Phone: (02) 8086 5639

Web: Bun Mese

Bun Mese on Urbanspoon

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