Book review – Momofuku

12 November 2010 by
Book review – Momofuku

By David Chang and Peter Meehan
Absolute Press, £25
ISBN 978-1-90665-035-3

Momofuku is the debut cookery book from David Chang, a young Korean-Amercian chef based in New York, who has been dubbed one of the hottest young chefs in the world.

Chang is chef-owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ko - which has two Michelin stars - and Ssäm Bar - ranked 26 in the S Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants. Written with New York Times food critic Peter Meehan, the book is a collection of recipes from all three of Chang's New York restaurants.

Momofuku is Japanese for "lucky peach", but it has been suggested that the name is a nod to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant noodles. Chang's cuisine is heavily influenced by Japanese cooking styles as well as other Asian flavours and the recipes are littered with some lesser-known ingredients such as kochukaru (Korean chilli flakes) and wakame chazuke furiake (Japanese rice seasoning).

At the beginning of the book, Chang shares his thoughts on the perfect ramen (Japanese broth and noodles) and provides a recipe outlining the construction of the dish: from the noodles and the broth, to the pork belly and slow-poached eggs. Also included are details of his most popular dish, the Momofuku pork bun - a home-made, white bun stuffed with braised pork belly and topped with hoisin sauce.

As you make your way through the book, the recipes become more complex with the likes of shaved foie gras, lychee and pine nut brittle; pig's head torchon; and the delicate soft-cooked hen egg stuffed with caviar and served with onions and potato.

The introductory notes for each recipe provide the story behind the dish and give a peek into Chang's creative process. The narrative is as colourful and as outspoken as the chef himself, while the recipes - which are complex and precise - capture his unique style of cooking, which Chang himself describes as "bad pseudo-fusion cuisine". He manages to combine Asian and American flavours, as well as making meticulous use of French technique alongside a dash of molecular gastronomy.

Colour photography by Gabriele Stabile provides an insight into the operation of Chang's restaurants, as well as an idea of how the finished dishes should look.

If you liked this, you'll love these:

Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen: Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall

â- Eating Korean: From Barbecue to Kimchi, Recipes from My Home Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

â- Fusion: A Culinary Journey Peter Gordon

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