Thursday, February 4, 2010

The (no brainer) Pork Bun Debate

Japanese pork bun enthusiasts swear by those by Momofuku or Ippudo. My preference? Ippudo, hands down.

The Japanese pork buns of these two rivals have delicious pork sandwiched between so-called Peking duck pancakes (I don't agree with the pancake label, but that's another story). What makes Ippudo my pick? Their delicious sauce that makes the pork so moist and succulent. Ippudo's pork bun (Hirata Bun) is a slice of pork belly with lettuce, mayo and a spicy sauce wrapped in a steamed bun. The lettuce adds freshness and a crunchy texture to the soft pork belly. And as if the pork isn't rich enough already, they had to add mayo to seal the deal. While Momofuku's pork bun is good and its slice of pork belly is thicker, it didn't pack as much of a punch as Ippudo's. Ippudo's sauce kicked Momofuku to the backseat - it has a touch of spiciness and is flavorful but not overpowering, and there's just the right amount of sauce to perfectly complement the pork.

If you look at Momofuku's version above, you'll see a rather thick piece of pork that's pretty light on sauce. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but just not as good as Ippudo's. If there is a word I can use to describe what distinguishes Ippudo's pork bun from Momofuku's, it's harmony - it has that melt in your mouth goodness.

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