Momofuku Steak Ssam from chef David Chang

momofuku ssam

We had a small get together this weekend with some friends and family and Kim and I made a three course dinner which included banh xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes) and a duo of dishes from chef David Chang and his famous Momofuko Ssam restaurant–marinated steak ssam (Korean for any meat wrapped in lettuce or other leaf vegetables) and steamed pork belly buns. We threw this party together pretty quickly–Kim wanted to make banh xeo (Vietnamese sizzling crepes) and the other dishes were incidentally inspired from reading a review of David Chang’s new cookbook, Momofuku from the Wall Street Journal during a flight back from Austin last week.

Even though I lived in NYC for a year, I actually never heard of David Chang until recently (yes, we’re late foodie bloomers) and now his popularity is through the roof. So we decided to test his marinated steak ssam recipe and recreate his steamed pork belly buns based on what’s available on the web. We only had 3 hours to shop and cook for 8! It actually felt like a top chef challenge…but we did it and we’ll present the dinner in three separate posts.

First up, the marinated steak ssam. This calls for using skirt or flap steak, but we we saw london broil for only $1.75/lb vs. $ 7/lb for the skirt…and it looked rather flimsy so it was easy decision and the only item that we bought the night before to marinate. The accompaniments below can all be made ahead of time.

Marinated Steak Ssam from David Chang’s cookbook Momofuku (adapted from Wall Street Journal)
Printable Recipe

  • 2 lbs skirt/flank steak (we used london broil)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped/crushed
  • 1/2 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 ts sesame oil
  • 2 ts ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and marinate the steak in a ziplock bag overnight. Grill to desired level of doneness–nothing but medium rare for our tastes. Always allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes. Cut against the grain on a diagonal. Then cut into smaller bite size pieces and transfer to serving dish.

momofuku ssam  

Kim’s future brother in law did a great job on manning the grill! Look at that perfect pink center!!!



  • 1-2 head of bib or green leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch of perilla (shiso/tia to) leaves
  • white rice (we opted not to use)
  • 1 cup Kimchi puree (simply puree some store bought kimchee in food processor)
  • 1 cup caramelized onions ( in large sautee pan on low heat cook for about 1-1.5 hrs with touch of oil, occasionally stirring every 15 minutes)
  • Ginger scallion sauce


momofuku ssam 

Ginger Scallion Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups of finely chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or neutral oil (we only had extra virgin olive oil and it worked fine)
  • 1 1 /2 ts light soy sauce
  • 3/4 ts sherry vinegar (we had red wine vinegar)
  • 3/4 ts coarse sea salt, or adjust to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow the flavors to incorporate in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. Our guests loved this sauce and left nothing behind!

momofuko ssam

To eat, take a piece of lettuce and perilla leaf together and dab on some kimchee puree. Place a few small pieces of steak in center and top with plenty of ginger scallion sauce and caramelized onions. Wrap, bite, and be prepared for a flavor packed explosion! The marinade was solid, but to be frank, the overall layering of flavors is what makes this style of eating great so even just some salt and pepper on steak would have been fine. The ginger scallion sauce is definitely a winner and can be used for so many other things as well. Overall, it was a great new experience of eating Korean style ssam for all of us.

Stay tuned for the banh xeo recipe and our version of Momofuku steamed pork buns!

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and

Bookmark and Share

  Pin It

19 Responses to “Momofuku Steak Ssam from chef David Chang”

  1. 1

    Jackie at — October 26, 2009 @ 7:33 am

    Mmm, Looks absolutely tender, juicy and delicious. I'm steak lover, this gorgeous steak could tempt anyone. Kim, your brother-in-law rocks! 😛

  2. 2

    Jessica@Foodmayhem — October 26, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    There was a review of his book in Gourmet too and it did entice me to buy it, but I'm a bit torn because he doesn't allow photos in one or two of his restaurants and thinks it's stupid that bloggers want to take pictures. That's also why I haven't been to any of his restaurants yet.

  3. 3

    3 hungry tummies — October 26, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

    the steak is cooked to perfection!!! lucky guests!!

  4. 4

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

    Jackie: The marinade itself was solid, but the overall flavors and style of the ssam is a great way to eat steak.

    jessica: we didn't know that and don't follow him that closely other then to know he's a bit controversial–and perhaps that's one reason for his notoriety as well.

    3 hungry tummies: all thanks to Kim future bro in law!

  5. 5

    Fresh Local and Best — October 26, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    This dish look fabulous! I'm enticed by all of the garlic and tangy flavors of the kimchee. I'm very curious about how the pork buns turned out. I adore his pork buns. The next time you guys are out in NYC, try Ippudo's, the ramen and porks buns rival Momofuku's!

  6. 6

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

    Fresh Local and Best: Thanks! We're itching to go back to NYC one day so we'll definitely have to email you for some suggestions if we do.

  7. 7

    HoustonWok — October 26, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

    RC, this is just too much, I would've never imagined that you could use apple juice as part of a marinate. LOL if I would've waited I could've made this dish the other day. Instead I made your Bo Luc Lac recipe again. 😀

  8. 8

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 4:22 pm

    HoustonWok: Nothing wrong with our bo luc lac again! :) But ssam is really great way to eat steak as well. Apple juice/cider is often used to brine pork chops or turkey so it's not a suprise he used it for steaks.

  9. 9

    Connie — October 26, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

    Looks great! Thanks for posting this, as I've had Momofuku on my mind lately! ( I'm psyched for the book.) The perilla leaf is such a great touch, and your steak looks cooked perfectly!

  10. 10

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

    Connie: Thanks! We love perilla and it's spicy notes really enhance the steak.

  11. 11

    Gastronomer — October 26, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    Looks like a REALLY missed out on this weekend's dinner party! Say you'll do it again? Pretty please?

  12. 12

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

    gastronomer: it would have been great to have you guys around since you and vern would be the only ones to have eatened there! Next time for sure!

  13. 13

    Cooking-Gallery — October 26, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

    The salad looks fantastic. I have never made steaks at home. Maybe it's now time to try it…;)!

  14. 14

    Ravenous Couple — October 26, 2009 @ 10:44 pm

    Cooking Gallery: If you don't have a grill, try our bo luc lac (vietnamese shaking beef) recipe!

  15. 15

    Tuty — October 27, 2009 @ 12:52 am

    Your dish looks absolutely enticing. Juicy steak and fresh condiments. I am drooling all over my keyboard.

  16. 16

    Ravenous Couple — October 27, 2009 @ 1:05 am

    Tuty: Thanks! the ginger scallion sauce was great–reminds us of the ginger sauce used in Hainanese chicken.

  17. 17

    Divina Pe — October 28, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

    That's a very juice steak with a very flavorful sauce. It's lively.

  18. 18

    Ravenous Couple — October 30, 2009 @ 12:56 am

    Divina: Thank you!

  19. 19

    Andy — October 31, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    I saw this post on Friday afternoon whilst at work and I was literally drooling at my desk! Inspired me to cook steak last night!

    Andy –

Leave a Comment