Sunday, June 27, 2010

Momofuku's Pork Belly Buns

If there's an 'in thing' in the food blogosphere lately, it's recreating the dishes of David Chang's Momofuku. Whilst i've never actually been to the New York noodle bar i have seen his Pork Belly buns posted on countless websites, and the moment i got my hands on some good pork belly (from... surprise surprise Victoria St!) it was time to try this dish.

I don't think i've gotten better rave reviews of something i've cooked before from my family. The crisp, salty pork, the soft, fluffy buns... everything just worked together perfectly. It is very difficult not to compare this dish with peking duck, with the same balance of textures and flavors. The difference is, that despite being labor intensive, this dish probably only cost around $16 to make! Better still, it can be frozen and reheated easily, and would make a fantastic dinner party, picnic or lunchbox snack.

As per usual i have taken my own liberties with the recipe and as such this is not 100% faithful to David Chang's original. Also please note that this recipe must be started the day before you want to eat it.


Pork Belly

  • 750gm pork belly, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 litre water
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock


  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • Canola oil spray
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar + a little extra


  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1/3 jar hoisin sauce


To brine the pork belly combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup salt and 1 litre water together.
Please the pork belly in a large zip lock bag and pour in the salt/sugar/water mixture
Remove as much air as possible from the bag and zip closed.

Place in a container in the fridge for 12 - 24 hours.

Next Day...

Combine the yeast, 1/4 cup water and a pinch of sugar and let sit in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Whisk in the flour and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar and flour.
Add the yeast/milk mixture and stir through until a dough begins to form.
Knead the dough mixture in the bowl until all the flour has been picked up.
Turn the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.

Lightly cover with oil and place in a bowl, covered with cling film, in a warm place for 2 hours.


Preheat oven to 150 degrees. 
Drain the pork and place in a small baking pan.
Add the chicken stock and 1/2 cup water and cover tightly with foil.
Transfer to oven for 2 1/2 hours

Remove the foil and increase oven temperature to 230 degrees.
Roast for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold.

Back to the buns...

Punch out the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface.
Press out slightly then sprinkly centre with baking powder.

Pull the sides of the dough together to capture powder in the middle.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until baking powder is fully incorporated.
Return to the bowl, cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
Remove the flour and divide into 16 equal portions.

Cut out 16 squares of baking paper, about 4 x 4 inches each.

Roll each dough portion out into an oval about 3 inches by 6 inches.
Spray 1/2 of each dough portion with canola out and then fold lightly in half and place on baking paper.

Cover the finished buns with a tea towel whilst you work on the others.

When all done, place a pan of water onto a stove to boil.
Place a steamer basket over the boiling water and place 4-5 buns in the basket, ensuring they don't touch eachother.
Cover and steam for 3 minutes or until slightly risen.
Remove from the baking paper and place on a plate.

Cover with a tea towel.
Repeat with remaining buns.

Now to put it all together

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
slice the pork belly into small chunks against the grain.

Place into the oven to reheat.
Cover the buns with foil and place into the oven to reheat.
Thinly slice the cucumbers and julienne the scallions.

Remove the pork and buns from the oven.
Smear 1/2 each bun with a bit of hoisin then fill with the cucumber, scallions, then pork.
Enjoy immediately.

***Note you can freeze the pork belly and the pork buns once cooked.

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