Cookbook of the Month, November 2018
At first look, calling the Momofuku book a cookbook is a disingenuous description. Momofuku begins with an introduction by Peter Meehan that prepares you well for what you’re about to face. There are recipes peppered into long sections of writing about the restaurant’s history, broken down into sections for each that had been opened at the time of writing. For example: the noodle bar as a prominent section at the beginning, followed by his Ssam bar. By now, the breakdown is a little bit out of date. There are Momofuku locations outside of NYC, and now Majordomo is open in LA.
In early September, I had the pleasure of eating at Momofuku at City Center in DC, where I got this book. We ate some intense food. I was absolutely over the moon to be in that building after watching Ugly Delicious and Mind of a Chef season one with Dave Chang. There’s something compelling about the story of the whole business, and this book is an opportunity for someone like me to learn more about it and the recipes that made it into what it is today.
And that’s not to discredit the fact that it is also a cookbook. I’m most excited about the steamed bun recipe that comes out of the noodle bar section of the cookbook. I’ve been in an Asian fusion kick since opening up Lucky Peach in October, and a lot of those recipes for chicken and beef are well suited to stuffing into something like the bun as much as the scallion pancakes featured inside of Lucky Peach.
I have already learned so much about various Asian cuisines via Lucky Peach, even if the recipes are considered unorthodox or inauthentic. Momofuku promises even more of that. Hell, there is a recipe to make your own ramen noodles. No, not a bowl of ramen. The actual fucking noodle.
Both the recipes and the narrative sections of the cookbook are broken down into each Momofuku location, sans Milkbar. I think I will try to work out of one section a week to talk to you about it, but we’ll see as I get farther into the cookbook. Just flipping through the book, I can tell that the major recipes each have their own short narrative penned by Dave Chang, and I love that. He’s so well spoken on the various Netflix programs I’ve seen him on. I can hear him reading the book back to me in my head so far.
I’m very excited to learn more about this establishment that has captured my attention from my living room couch. There’s something about this cookbook that seems special to me even before cooking it. How many big joints like this do a cookbook featuring some of their big hit dishes? If the answer is a lot, color this Midwestern girl very excited to hit up some more restaurants like Momofuku in the future.
This book is available on amazon, or if you’re lucky enough to be near a Momofuku location, you can get one on your way out.
Check back later this month to find out how my cooking went with Momofuku in hand.
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