I’ve been meaning to try Momofuku Noodle Bar for as long as it has been open (two years tops, likely less) but I no longer have any friends or loved ones in the East Village, it’s not on my way to anything and I’m weird about sitting on stools at counters. And this Peking duck-like sandwich isn’t what the restaurant is known for, but after seeing this intriguing recipe in New York my mind forgot all about the pork belly and ramen I’d been missing.
The gist of the dish is sauteeing soft-shell crabs in bacon fat and stuffing them into Chinese buns along with hoisin sauce, scallions and lightly pickled cucumber slices. Easy. But I’m not sure about the buns because I haven’t eaten the original (which I definitely intend to now). They’re not char siu type buns, they’re more like super puffy tacos shells minus the crunch, doughy rounds folded in half to make a fluffy pocket. The buns, or steamed rolls like the package read, were also larger than I’d expected (I used a brand called Juans, which always cracks me up. Maybe on Staten Island, where the company is based, Juan is an Asian name), so you could realistically fit a whole crab inside, where the recipe called for halving the crustaceans. Or maybe my crabs were smaller. Either way, the end result was still satisfying (and I went wild and included some of the bacon, which is only intended for fat rendering). Pork and seafood get along better than many people think.