Momofuku: Feasting on Mountain of Chang’s Fried Chicken

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Restaurant New York City

Momofuku provides prime window views of the bustling East Village.

The way we see it, Momofuku‘s fried chicken presents two challenges. The first is just getting a seat in front of the feast. Chef David Chang and his crew at Momofuku Noodle Bar have a dedicated web page, just for the large format meal, complete with its own reservation system and a list of 30 Qs & As. The second task is to actually take down more than two whole birds and accompaniments. Three of us were lucky enough to score prized seats for lunch, and we were more than ready to tussle with whatever hit our table.

Momofuku Noodle Bar, located down 1st Avenue from the original, diminutive location, features blonde wood walls, counters, communal tables, and an open kitchen. A blackboard credits contributing farms from the Tri-State area, including Windfall Farms in Orange County, NY, Maxwell’s Farm in Warren County, NJ, and Eckerton Hill Farm in Hamburg, PA.

Fried Chicken New York City

A mountainous fried chicken ($100) plate was definitely the centerpiece of our show-stopping meal.

We received two different preparations of yardbird. Buttermilk brined, Southern-style fried chicken was juicy, with thick, crisp coats of batter. Twice-fried Korean fried chicken featured thinner, crispier skins that separated from the bird. The coating consisted of corn starch, flour, vodka, Miller High Life, fish sauce, lip-tingling red pepper and more. Both birds registered above average for their respective styles, and combined with the accompaniments, the meal left a lasting impression.

The seasonal Bounty Bowl contained crunchy raw radishes, carrots, bibb lettuce, basil, mint, and cilantro. We tore swaths of chicken from the bone and wrapped them in lettuce, Korean ssam-style, with herbs and sauce. The buttermilk fried chicken worked better for this style of eating, since it didn’t sport a sauce that competed with what we found in our four bowls.

Sauces New York City

Sauces consisted of savory hoison; a spicy seed-studded gochujang-style sauce called bimbim; soy with sliced garlic and jalapeño; and punchy minced scallion-ginger. It was fun to mix and match.

Pliable, moo shu-like pancakes worked well as either a Korean fried chicken wrapping, or with a combination of hoisin and Southern fried chicken.

We finished about half the food, and the sole New Yorker in our group ended up with a heap of leftovers. Ultimately, it would have taken at least one competitive eater or about six standard issue people to get the job done, but it was still worth trying.

Momofuku: Feasting on Mountain of Chang’s Fried Chicken


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.