Last weekend I learned a very valuable lesson. Sometimes first impressions are just bad, and you need to give things a second chance. Thanks Mrs. Wang for dragging me to Ssam Bar again. Yes, I have to admit - I have been a slight David Chang hater since the first time I went to Ssam Bar because it simply just sucked. And then Momofuku Noodle Bar really is subpar to the other ramen places in the city.
However, this second time to Ssam Bar was a delight! I did not take a picture of the perfect bite because we were so hungry when they dropped the plate of roasted duck that we immediately started to devour it. It was Chang’s interpretation of Chinese peking duck. He roasted it and placed it on top of rice that was cooked in duck fat (aka Hainanese chicken rice). It was served with some bibb lettuce and pickled vegetables to make little wraps. If you put some hoisin and hot sauce on it, how can you go wrong? Rice cooked in fat - always a good idea.
His other signature dish is his “Korean" duk bok ki. Its good - spicy and oily as any cheap Chinese place in the city. This is basically, Szechuan style ma po tofu but instead of tofu, he replaces it with dok bok ki. The good thing about this dish is that it is so spicy!!!
The other things we tried were decent. I am glad I went back. I am on the Chang bandwagon. He has made a huge fan base due to his reputation to "reinterpret” Korean food. But what he has basically done, is taken classic Chinese cooking methods and threw in some Korean ingredients. Genius? Yes.