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472 of 481 found the following review helpful:
A Colombian cooking from Momofuku Dec 02, 2009
By C. Rodriguez
I bought Momofuku a few weeks ago, after I heard an interview with the author on NPR. Coincidentally, my eleven year old daughter and I are going through a Ramen Noodles craze, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki's films (the grandfather in Whisper of the Heart serves noodles to the young ones when in distress; and in Ponyo the mom makes noodles look like magic).
In any case, I wanted something better than the packages available at the local Asian grocery store. Now, a month later, not only are my ramen noodles exquisite, but Momofuku has made me a much better cook. Here's why:
* Chang's attention to the quality of the ingredients one uses: I found a local farmer who raises pigs and drove an hour and a half on beautiful Oklahoma country roads to her place. My freezer is now packed with wonderful cuts of free ranging, non-chemical raised pork, stew meat, and bacon.
* His large quantities did not deter me. Actually, the book's advise on how to store food is perfect for my family of two. I made a huge pot of ramen noodle broth, let it reduce and once ready (simmered for 6 hours), stored in small containers in the freezer. Now I have absolutely wonderful broth for months. (Note: as a Colombian from the Andes, I don't want my broth to have any fishy flavor, so I excluded the Kombu from Chang's recipe)
* Chang's recipe for roasting pork is amazing too! I followed it by the book and ended up with something so good I had a hard time believing I had made it. I roasted a huge chunk of shoulder, and once ready and cool, shredded it, divided it in small zip lock bags, and to the freezer. As with the broth, I have excellent roasted pork to add to our weekly ramen noodles.
* Chang's creative techniques: I will never fry chicken any other way. Momofuku's recipe for fried chicken is exquisite. Easy, creative, and the chicken is delicious, tender, not oily, brown on the outside ...perfect.
* Small details that take once's eating experience to an entirely new level: such as the ginger, scallion recipe. Again, as a Colombian, when nostalgic sometimes I add a little chopped cilantro to the ginger-scallion sauce.
Chang's approach to Asian cuisine, his respect for tradition without the anxiety of hybridizing, bending, mixing, is perfect for a Colombian bored with the food available in central Oklahoma and trying to make good food out of an ordinary, everyday life kitchen.
139 of 147 found the following review helpful:
MO Momofuku please Dec 14, 2009
By Shirley Lee
Genius. I NEVER would've thought cherry tomatoes and sesame oil went so well together!
Many of the recipes are time consuming. But it's care, quality and skill that makes good restaurants stand out. Momofuku's recipes certainly rule out the ordinary.
I am Chinese-American and make my soups by simmering bones for 6 hrs, that is what is takes - so David Chang's ramen broth is the real deal. This is the first I heard about adding tare, that must be the killer deal. No MSG here.
Some of the reviews scared me off at first but not all the recipes are difficult. I made the braised pork belly. Dude. This is an EASY recipe. Marinate w/salt & sugar overnight and stick it in the oven. Made the steam bun thing and all. Yummy, worthwhile and actually easy. Oh, and it's like one of their flagship dishes.
He is Korean-American and he actually made Kimchi better. I tried the nappa and cucumber kimchi and it rocks. So much better than the standard kimchi, it's got lots ginger, sugar and fish sauce too.
I don't think I'll ever play around with food glue or make deep fry pork rinds at home but this cookbook is not titled, 'home cookin momofuku'. It does, however, makes you appreciate what it takes to prepare their food.
This is a cookbook that requires some asian ingredients and cooking methods. So if you've never even purchased a chinese or korean cookbook or never made anything but a stir-fry, the recipes may seem daunting. If you don't make any of recipes, it teaches a few things and it's also a good read.
David Chang is a young, energetic and creative chef who takes you down the path of his success. He is very entertaining so it also fun to read (minus his expletives). You can feel his passion, hard work and he repeatedly credits those who have supported and helped him to where he is. How many chefs do that in their cookbooks?
I am hoping to visit his restaurant when I'm in NYC next spring. Just don't know which one yet.
86 of 91 found the following review helpful:
For Chefs ... and Armchair Chefs Nov 21, 2009
I came to MOMOFUKU as a relatively beginning cook (despite my middle age) and an intermediate foodie, and suspected that the recipes from David Chang's acclaimed group of NYC restaurants would be over my head. I was right -- as they will be for all but the most adventurous and experienced cooks. But recipes aren't the only aspect to this book -- it's also a memoir of Chang's path from happy noodle-eater/unhappy office-worker through cooking school and apprenticeships to award-winning chef and restaurateur.
In fact, straightforward recipes are fairly rare in this book. Rather, they're tutorials -- each step is a paragraph about process and technique, and I'm already a better cook (and restaurant patron) just for having read them. The book itself is trademark Clarkson-Potter (think Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart books) -- smooth, heavy pages filled with full-color photographs of food, the restaurants, diners and staff -- many of which evoke a sense of motion and hectic energy. That energy is reinforced by Chang's conversational text, including profanity (which feels seamless and characterizing) and absolute gems of instruction. For example, for a pan-roasted rib eye (a do-able recipe), Chang advises to "Season the steak liberally with salt -- like you'd salt a sidewalk in New York in the winter," and, after cooking, to "Let the steak rest. Just leave it the hell alone"; about removing the fat from pigskin in the process of making pork rinds (*not* a do-able recipe): "Scrape gently but with determination."
Highly recommended for uber-motivated -- and armchair -- cooks.
174 of 210 found the following review helpful:
For (party-hosting) Momofuku fans only Sep 30, 2009
By Michael Suh
I'd like to take many of the other reviewers here to task. If you're going to review a cookbook, TRY TO COOK FROM IT! The back story to David Chang is interesting, but the stories lead to the food. Why not try to understand his cooking and story a little bit better by trying to make his stuff?
I've had the privilege to eat at Momofuku Ko when Chef Chang was cooking that night. The black and white pictures in the proof copy don't do justice to the food. I've also eaten at the Noodle Bar and the Milk Bar, but somehow just skipped over Ssam (though friends of mine say it's really good). So I was pretty excited to get this book.
I offer this critique, and I think it's a pretty major flaw: this book in general is not practical. The recipes are daunting and clearly in quantities only a catering company or large dinner party would serve. Many people will probably find the recipes too difficult to do on their own.
For example, his ramen broth alone is very long and complicated, and makes literally gallons of the stuff -- and that's after you cut it in half. The ramen noodles are equally terrifying -- beyond the scope of most at-home cooks. Needless to say, I didn't try this.
I did try to make the steamed pork buns. It is incredibly time consuming -- making the dough alone takes a few hours, especially for an amateur cook like myself who has never done it before. The pork belly takes hours, too. And it makes more pork buns than I care to think about -- I lost count at around 35. The taste comes close to Noodle Bar, but there's just something about their food that's just different (and better). Maybe it's their hoisin sauce. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen literally all day, you almost think it's better to drive to the restaurant in NYC and get the pork buns there instead, regardless of where you live in the US. Or abroad.
The pork belly ssam in the book is just a hop, skip, and jump away with the pork belly cooked for the pork buns. But since I've never been to Ssam Bar, I can't compare it.
The frozen foie gras is a revelation when eating at Ko. Reading the recipe turned my stomach (picking out veins and green bile spots?? Bleah!). Didn't try this either. The pine nut brittle that accompanies the foie gras looks good to make, but who has isomalt lying around?
You can kind of tell Chef Chang doesn't care too much about desserts. When I ate at Ko, all I got was funnel cake. In the book he only includes two or three, most of which are just impossible to make. There are no recipes from Milk Bar in the book, either. I wish there were -- I really like the pies there.
If nothing else, this book makes you appreciate how much work Chef Chang puts into his food. But at the end of the day, this won't be a book I'll open to find recipes to serve for dinner parties; I'll look at it before my next trip to New York City to remind myself to get more pork buns at Noodle Bar.
51 of 61 found the following review helpful:
More "book" than "cookbook" - updated Jan 12, 2011
I found this book hard to rate, and I expect that some might take exception with the 3 stars I've given Momofuku. Let me say that it is a very nice, high quality hard cover book with many full color pictures. Seriously, this book is gorgeous and it's clear that it was put together with love. I would not, however call it a "cookbook". Despite the length of this book, there are precious few recipes that most people would attempt - it is definitely not geared toward the amateur chef or home cook.
I think if you are a more experienced chef with a desire to have a greater understanding of the author's style of Asian cooking, you will likely rate this book higher than I did. If you purchase this book expecting a traditional cookbook with accessible recipes, you will likely rate it lower than I did.
Make your decision to purchase accordingly.
UPDATE - August 2014
At the time I initially reviewed Momofuku, I was really just starting my culinary journey. This book had just come out and it was honestly over my head at that time.
While I stand by my statement in the second paragraph above, my personal appreciation of this cookbook has gone up dramatically since watching "The Mind of a Chef" (available on Amazon Instant Streaming). Season 1 is all about David Chang, and it's hard to not come away from the experience without loving the guy and admiring his genius in the kitchen. Momofuku is a great companion piece to that series -- and if you enjoyed "The Mind of a Chef", I can recommend this book without reservation. If, however, you're looking for a book of Asian recipes that you can whip up on a weeknight, this isn't the book for you.
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