And if I was ready to travel roughly 800 miles for a bowl of noodles, pork buns and some fried chicken, it better be awesome.
It kind of was.
Simple and easy tableclothes: paper.
In order to get the chicken, we had to make a reservation in advance. Normally, the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but they will for their korean fried chicken (and it has to be with at least four people). Naturally, we ordered extra food in addition to the roughly 2.5 whole fried chickens we were about to consume.
No biggie. We came to eat and we were going to eat.
These babies are famous. So famous, that I felt the need to make them to see just how hard it might be. 12 hours later (includes marinating time for the pork belly), I had fairly successfully replicated them. But it certainly was so much easier to just head to the restaurant and order them.
Thick-sliced pork belly + marinated cucumbers + green onions + hoisin + sriracha + warm, chewy bun = heaven in a bite. It’s sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy, chewy and unctuous all in one mouthful. That’s hard to find.
Mussels with a Thai Coconut Broth:
I’m pretty sure my mom said on more than two occasions, something along the lines of: “I could drink this stuff!” referring to the broth.
This, and the pork buns, is what David Chang is probably most famous for. The broth takes half a day to make and requires quite a range of ingredients — chicken bones, pork bones, smoked bacon, konbu, shiitake mushrooms and onions (ironically? stupidly? I, too, have attempted this broth and it was no where near as good).
The noodles are homemade, the pork belly and pork shoulder are homemade, the egg is slow poached — ramen doesn’t get any better. While the broth was a touch on the salty side, everything else was really well done. Not to mention the size of the bowl; it was probably large enough to give a bath to a small dog.
And of course, why we really went there to eat: the korean fried chicken:
When the waiter brought the chicken to the table, I had another “Oh my God, why are we doing this?” moment.
The left half of the platter is korean sweet/spicy chicken. The right is just regular buttermilk fried, but with a slight kick to the brining/marinating process — they add vodka to the mix.
Bring it on. We had four sauces, some veggies to make wraps if we wanted to and another bathtub for the bones.
Have you ever eaten so much that thinking becomes laborious?