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!

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