Battle of the Bougie Pork Belly Buns: Momofuku Noodle Bar vs. Baohaus 2
Lauren Shockey Momofuku Noodle Bar on the left, Baohaus 2 on the right
Oh, fancy pork buns. How did you do it? Getting us to swoon over slabs of porcine goodness while paying ridiculous markups for a product that can be purchased so cheaply in Chinatown, that is. The exact reason remains a mystery, though the cult of Momofuku is undeniable. And while the food fad might have reached an apogee two years ago, the trend remains strong. Just recently, Eddie Huang opened a second outpost of Baohaus, his shop devoted to Taiwanese-style gua bao. While Chang's and Huang's pork buns feature different toppings, at their core they are quite similar: fatty pork, fluffy bun, Asian flavors. Which means one thing: We had to prepare for a Battle of the Bougie Pork Belly Buns.
Lauren Shockey At Momofuku Noodle Bar, you get two buns for $10.
We began our quest at Momofuku Noodle Bar, and ordered the classic pork buns, which run two for $10. The buns come slathered with hoisin sauce and quick-pickled cukes, plus a sprinkling of minced scallions. The buns are notably soft and squishy but sturdy enough to stand up to the slices of pork. Pork belly, obviously a fatty cut of meat, can be tricky, and it's not uncommon to end up with gobfuls of straight fat. The meat here had a good balance of flesh and fat. Although we preferred the restaurant's older version in which the pork took on much more of a roasted character, this bun proved that, yes, much of Momofuku's hype is still well-deserved.