Friday, September 21, 2012

Momofuku in Toronto!

When I was at chef school in New York, I often made my way to the East Village for a pork bun bite at Momofuku. At the time, there was a small line but nothing like the phenomenon it has become today. Pork belly, though certainly not invented by David Chang, has become a trendy menu item across a myriad of restaurants in North America. Since moving from NYC, I have often yearned for the two-bite pork buns made famous by the Momofuku brand. And now Torontonians can enjoy them at Toronto's very own Momofuku, in the recently opened Shangri-La Hotel.

I usually don't tend to wait in line for restaurants but I was ready to make the exception when I went for lunch at Momofuku today, the day after it opened.The restaurant is far bigger than its New York counterpart however, so we were seated as soon as the doors opened.

 As I sat down, I couldn't help but think about one of the lines from an old episode of 30 Rock that refers to Toronto as "just like New York but without all the stuff". The line always makes me laugh, but I think somewhere deep down it kind of annoys me too. I've only lived here for a little over a year, but I strangely feel attached to this city and think its potential is far greater than most places I know. The fact that David Chang decided to open here, is, in my mind, a small token that shows just how much of a food and culture hub Toronto really is.
Back in 2009, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Chang as he was promoting the release of his Momofuku cookbook (you can read my review of his book here) and it seems that in the few years since he's become that much bigger. With his Lucky Peach magazine, his Milk Bar success and now his Toronto expansion, Chang has achieved a level of success most chefs can't begin to dream of.

As I was feasting on my ginger scallion noodles (another staple dish) I looked up and David Chang was there, on the second story of his restaurant, looking down at the bustling, feasting crowd. And for any skeptics out there, let me tell you, the food was amazingly flavourful, well-executed and true to the New York Chang meals I have enjoyed. The bill on the other hand? Still a little high for what you get on your plate - but still somehow worth it..!

Have you made your way to Momofuku yet?

Momofuku on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I haven't but I hope to soon!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Mardi: Let me know what you think when you do!

Greg said...

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WokandSpoon said...

The photos look yummy!

kale said...

i've always loved eating in toronto; the mosaic of communities offering succulent and authentic dishes is reason enough to hit it up for a visit! my sis has been there for 15+ years and we've never eaten at the same place twice! (except for Tim's... i know, GROAN. but sometimes a girl needs her blueberry fritters!)

Zeeona @ Basil and Strawberry said...

These look so yummy!

cquek said...

What an awesome post!

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

1I'm dying to go to Momofuku here. It's funny how things work sometimes. When I tried Momofuku Ssam / Noodle Bar in NYC before, I gave it a "lukewarm" review on a blog post I wrote. Being Asian, I didn't understand his bastardized versions of Korean / Chinese / Japanese classics. I thought he was just another Asian chef bulls***ing his way through. Plus, (again, as an Asian) I refuse to pay a higher price for food that you will easily find in the hawker stalls and sidewalks of Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, etc. - and better quality. But then, I also understand that not everyone can get on a plane to Asia...
So after further consideration, I think D.Chang is doing a great job for Asian comfort foods - a step in the right direction ...
By the way, glad I found your blog :) I am a fan! Hope to connect more often!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings: I understand where you're coming from - I think for people who haven't been yet traveled to those places and tasted the street food there, it's nice to be able to taste David Chang's version here. The price is always what gets me though, I always want to order more pork buns but they're pricey for what you get!

Ps: Thanks for the kind word about my blog!

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