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The Momofuku Effect: How David Chang took over the city’s menus long before Momofuku even opened its Toronto doors

The Momofuku Effect

(Photographs courtesy Momofuku)

The New York mastermind behind Momofuku is one of the most copied chefs of the last decade. His brand of fusion—Asian street food elevated to fine dining—has been inspiring Toronto chefs for years. In fact, if you’ve eaten at the restaurants below, chances are you’ve already tasted Chang’s influence. Here, eight Momofuku signatures and their Toronto counterparts.


The Momofuku Effect

Ramen

Chang studied the art of ramen in Japan and turned his obsession into Noodle Bar, his
first restaurant

On Toronto menus:

  • Lucien, 2007
    Ramen with roast duck breast, confit leg, pine mushrooms and a quail egg
  • Ame, 2009
    Ramen with eel and mixed mushrooms
  • Yours Truly, 2012
    Braised pork belly ramen

The Momofuku Effect

Chicharrón

Chang got a kick out of serving glorified pork rinds as a fancy amuse at Ko in 2008

On Toronto menus:

  • Beast, 2010
    Endive salad with chicharrón
  • Niagara Street Café, 2012
    Chicharrón with roasted beets, goat cheese,
    sherry vinaigrette
  • Lucien, 2012
    Braised pork shoulder with sauerkraut purée and a side of chicharrón

The Momofuku Effect

Ssäm

Ssäm, Chang’s second N.Y. spot, popularized the DIY Korean meat-and-lettuce wraps

On Toronto menus:

  • Swish, 2009
    Beef, chicken or pork ssäm
  • The County General, 2012
    Buttermilk-brined sous-vide fried chicken ssäm
  • Yours Truly, 2012
    Pork belly ssäm
  • Chantecler, 2012
    Beef rib or pork shoulder ssäm

The Momofuku Effect

Pig’s-head torchon

At Ssäm, Chang boiled pig’s head, rolled it up, deep-fried it and sliced it

On Toronto menus:

  • Parts and Labour, 2010
    Fried pig’s face with gribiche sauce
  • Niagara Street Café, 2012
    Crispy pig cheek terrine with cucumber kimchee and lime mayo
  • Reds Bistro, 2012
    Deep-fried, smoked pork hock and pig’s-head terrine

The Momofuku Effect

Bao

Pork belly steamed buns, on Chang’s first menu at Noodle Bar in 2004, are his most
replicated dish

On Toronto menus:

  • 416 Snack Bar, 2011
    Pork belly buns with crispy salmon skin
  • The County General, 2011
    Pork belly buns with apple slaw and kimchee and avocado
  • Báhn Mì Boys, 2012
    Five-spice pork belly buns with pickled veggies

The Momofuku Effect

Brussels sprouts

Chang tossed them with fish sauce, mint and cilantro at Ssäm, and with kimchee at
Noodle Bar

On Toronto menus:

  • Nota Bene, 2011
    Thai-style brussels sprouts tossed with fish sauce, mint, cilantro and chilies
  • Fabarnak, 2012
    Kimchee brussels sprouts (as a side for big-eye tuna)
  • The Gladstone, 2012
    Kimchee made with fermented brussels sprouts

The Momofuku Effect

Haute bánh mì

When Chang put bánh mì on the menu at Ssäm Bar, he elevated the $5 street snack to a seat-worthy status

On Toronto menus:

  • Fuel House, 2011
    Pork belly confit báhn mì
  • The Gabardine, 2012
    Pulled pork, kimchee and Chinese barbecue sauce
    báhn mì
  • This End Up, 2012
    Hickory-smoked pork belly on a traditional Vietnamese rice flour baguette

The Momofuku Effect

Shaved foie gras

At Momofuku Ko, Chang froze the duck liver and grated it over pine nut brittle and
riesling gelée

On Toronto menus:

  • Yours Truly, 2012
    Sashimi with sour apple, white soy mustard and
    shaved foie
  • Weslodge, 2012
    Beef tartare with shaved foie gras
  • Quatrefoil, 2012
    Five-spice and honey-glazed duck breast with shaved
    foie gras