Momofuku pork buns

Momofuku's pork bun

Momofuku's pork bun

It was a much anticipated affair when Momofuku Seiobo opened at Sydney’s newly refurbished casino, The Star in October 2011.

What’s all the fuss you might ask? Well it is Korean-American celebrity chef David Chang‘s first restaurant foray into the southern hemisphere. Since opening his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar in Manhattan in 2004, he has successfully opened a string of restaurants which include Momofuku Ko in New York City that won two Michelin stars in 2009 which it still maintains todate.

It is no wonder that when Momofuku opened its doors at The Star’s glamourous location, local foodies and the media were working up a food frenzy.

“Momofuku” means “lucky peach” but this may not be the defining point of the restaurant. If you are trying to get a table there, bookings can only be made online. For a new customer, you need to open an online account with the restaurant and they only take bookings ten days in advance including the current day.

I have not been to this Sydney restaurant. At $175 for approximately thirteen dinner courses that take approximately two hours to complete , I am a bit over this kind of fuss and am certainly in no hurry to go.

Steamed buns

Steamed buns

Mysaucepan, however, can’t wait to go. Having given up asking me to tag along, she decided to replicate one of Chang’s most talked about dishes for a friend’s house-warming party.

Pork buns are actually a traditional Northern Chinese delicacy and Mysaucepan loves these delightful pockets when she was growing up and recalls her mum making them during special occasions like Chinese New Year.

Her mum’s version is based on the traditional Northern Chinese pork buns, which are sandwiched with meltingly tender soy braised pork, mushroom and Chinese lettuce.

However, David Chang has given his own twist to these traditional buns by roasting the pork belly and pairing it with siricha chilli sauce for a bit of his Thai/Korean flavour, sweet hoisin sauce with crunchy slices of cucumber wrapped in a soft and warm steamed bun.

These buns are easily available pre cooked and packaged in Asia. However in Sydney, they are not as easy to track down. Determined to get the real deal, Mysaucepan sets out to find a recipe to make her own buns at home. “The buns must be very soft and fluffy”, she says.

“Not only that, I think the pork belly has some interesting spices and it sounds really good”, she adds.

I have heard some positive comments as well about the pork buns so I am keen to see what the fuss was all about.

“Why not, at least we can share that decadent and heart-attack slab of pork belly with all those unsuspecting bunch of foodies”, I replied gleefully.

So here it is, Momofuku pork buns, adapted from recipe at

Momofuku pork buns

Kneading the dough

Kneading the dough

Folding the dough for steaming

Folding the dough for steaming

Fluffy and soft: Fresh steamed buns

Fluffy and soft: Fresh steamed buns

Resting the pork belly

Resting the pork belly

Removing the crispy thin pork crackling

Removing the crispy thin pork crackling

Slice pork belly (against the grain) into half centimetre slices

Slice pork belly (against the grain) into half centimetre slices

Pork belly with crispy crackling, cucumbers, hoisin sauce and julienne shallots

Pork belly with crispy crackling, cucumbers, hoisin sauce and julienne shallots

This is actually quite a fun and exciting recipe when preparing a lot of steam buns for home entertaining.

Place pork belly, crackling, cucumber, shallots and hoisin sauce on pork bun

Place pork belly, crackling, cucumber, shallots and hoisin sauce on pork bun

Momofuku's pork bun

Momofuku's pork bun

The verdict 

These pork buns are quite delicious. All credit to Mysaucepan who managed some really soft and fluffy buns from the steamer that I am happy to dunk into a good curry sauce as an alternative.

The buns taste like a cross between a char siew bao (steamed buns with  BBQ pork) albeit with crispy pork crackling and a Peking duck wrap with a warm and soft bun instead of its usual wafer thin pancake.

They are also great for entertaining guests because  it is interactive and I always find it exciting for friends to be able to assemble their own wraps or buns.

So dear readers, would you try making this bun at home or would you prefer to sample it at Momofuku Seiobo?

Click on any of the photos to view ChopinandMysaucepan‘s favourite recipes or simply click here.

Momofuku Seiobo
The Star, 80 Pyrmont street, Level G
Sydney, New South Wales 2009
(Entrance at Edward and Union street)
Online bookings only: please click here.

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29 Responses to Momofuku pork buns

  1. Juji says:

    I so wanted to go to Mofofuku Seiobo when we were in Sydney last year, but alas, all the hype and the online reservations made it impossible.

    I think this do it yourself option is a fantastic idea, and one I think I’ll try too :)

  2. I’m lazy, so I’d probably just eat it at the restaurant. They look awesome though – very elegant – and well worth the hard work!

  3. Sissi says:

    If I were to trust my eyes and your extraordinary photos, this would be the most appetising thing I have ever seen on your blog. The crackling makes these buns sensational. I simply must try this recipe soon. (I have no Momofuku here so I have no choice 😉 )
    Actually the only steamed pork buns I knew were the round buns filled with slightly sweet roast pork and they are my favourite appetiser when I go to a Chinese restaurant. These look hundred times better.

  4. Celia says:

    Fascinating recipe! Can I please ask – do you slide the chopstick out once the oval of dough is folded in half, or leave it there as it proves? I’m puzzled as to why the dough doesn’t just stick to itself and prove into a half moon shape? Thank you..

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Celia,

      If you oil the chopstick well with either melted butter or canola oil, it will prevent the dough from sticking together when folded.

  5. OohLookBel says:

    This is something I’d like to try at home, but the sheer volume of buns has always put me off. Yours do look nice, though, and the sound of roast pork or duck in them is very tempting.

  6. Since it’s a long drive from the Sunshine Coast, I will definitely be trying these buns. I think yours are as beautiful to look at as they must be delicious. Well done!

  7. Alice says:

    We have the store-bought version quite often. Your roast pork looks absolutely divine and since I can’t make, we have it with sticky home-made Malaysia ‘black char siew’, cucumber and spring onion. Momofuku, eat your heart out!

  8. tigerfish says:

    The only version I have tried is “Grandma’s/mother’s” homemade version that is braised! I have not tried roasted pork belly version till now.

  9. These look amazing 😀 fab job guys! I would love to give these a go myself but I have to say, there is something about someone else making them for you, food always tastes better made by someone else haha

  10. Now that I had satisfying amount of roti… (hehee!)…. my next target is pork buns!!!!!!! My gosh this looks so good. I can eat so many of these. My kids got my gene and we’ll be crazy one family in front of this. =D

  11. Charles says:

    That looks ridiculously delicious – the things you said the taste was similar to – peking duck wrap and char siew bao buns – I love them both so I know I’d adore this – and that crispy pork crackling too… omg 😀

  12. irene says:

    I would rather eat them at restaurant than to make them myself, but oh boy I probably need to make them soon! look utterly delicious! :)

  13. I have eaten at Chang’s Ssam Bar when I last visited NYC. I have tried his pork buns, they are nice, not outstanding, not world changing, they are nice. Sadly I cannot get what all the fuss is about in regard to the Momofuku chain. Will I go to Seibo? Most likely, but like you, not in any hurry.

    Mysaucepan did a rocking job, and would be more interested in hoeing down on those :)

  14. sophia says:

    Oh my goshieeee! So delectable!! I love those little fluffy buns…
    What a coincidence though…I just posted about visiting Momofuku Milk Bar…a complete different atmosphere from Momofuku ssam bar.

  15. Ann says:

    These are terrific! I’ve had them at a restaurant and I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to re-create them! BRAVO!

  16. sugarpuffi says:

    WOW!! i am sooooooo coming over to eat them. im bringing a takeaway box too

  17. They certainly do look soft and fluffy, and pork belly is my absolute favourite! Yummo!

  18. heidi says:

    I would love to make these- for the right occasion and the most discerning of guests! Mysaucepan really did a great job and your photos do her work justice!
    Thanks for developing and sharing this recipe!

  19. I think I’d like a dozen of these set in front of me for a superb dinner alone! 😛

  20. I really must try making these, I loved them when Agnes from Off the Spork made them for a lunch we had.

  21. Wonderful!!!
    I am such huge Fan of Momofuku…. God You made these….YAY!!
    You know I have been thinking of making these buns…
    yours look fantastic!!
    I am so drooling…

  22. Row says:

    That first picture says, “Eat me!”. 😀 Such yummy photos!

    Considering that the closest Momofuku restaurant to me is a 7-hour flight away, I’d try making these at home. :)

  23. WOW! Those look gorgeous! What a cool cooking project- and certainly cheaper and easier than waiting for a reservation. I’m impressed!

  24. Ummmm amazing?! I’ve tried the momofoku version in NYC – delicious. Although the huge layer of fat on the pork was a bit much for me :S This one looks so so good perfection! Bravo.
    Heidi xo

  25. Bams Kitchen says:

    The crispy pork fat crackle had me glued to the screen. These are great little bites. Fantastic step by step photos to show us along the way. Take care, BAM

  26. Alana says:

    Oh man THAT PORK LOOKS INCREDIBLE! I would love to try making these at home.

  27. I can’t wait to visit his restaurant THEN I am going to go home and master this recipe!

  28. Winston says:

    Okay, THAT’S IT. I’m so making this for my next dinner party. No questions asked, not even an option. Thanks for sharing. You two are an amazing dinner duo!

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