Reviewing David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Line
By Alex C
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
First off, let's get a few things out of the way. David Chang is a Korean American chef and owner of the restaurant group Momofuku which spans a line of 6 restaurants nationwide and a product line of instant noodles, chili crisp, salts, and liquids like tamari and vinegar. When the pandemic hit and restaurants were forced to shut down, it became evident that a typical business model wasn't going to work anymore. So in order to diversify momofuku's income, David released a line of instant noodles in order to help diversify momofuku’s income outside of its line of restaurants. It’s definitely a commendable business move and I’m thrilled it’s working out so far!
Momofuku’s instant noodle line is actually a collaboration between Momofuku and A-sha Foods, a leader in instant noodles. The noodles are air dried for about 18 hours (never fried), zero cholesterol, 11 grams of protein, and 25% less calories than other instant ramen brands. Which begs the question: Are they still as delicious as the other not so healthy instant ramens? Well, I'm here to try them out for you! As someone who grew up eating tons of ramen and has an actual drawer in her kitchen dedicated to instant ramen, I feel very qualified and honored to do this review for you all. I also turned these instant noodles into full blown dishes like kimchi jjigae, carbonara, and pad thai! So, lets get into the reviews and recipes of this noodle tasting!
These are the products that I reviewed from Momofuku
- Soy & Scallion Noodles
These are the most basic ones out of all three. It comes with a packet of dried scallions and momofuku’s tamari sauce which makes it very soy forward. Although this one wasn't my favorite flavor, it is a great base for a recipe. Maybe crack an egg or mix in some peanut butter and hoisin sauce and it would be perfect. The texture of the noodles are very chewy and I love that the resemble squiggly noodles I grew up with.
To level it up, I turned the soy & scallion package into a pot of kimchi jjigae with spam and tofu. I added a shot of the house made tamari and the soy packet for a hit of sodium and it was incredible!
Spicy Soy Noodles
Now, David Chang is known to like his things spicy so I was a little worried about the spice level but I actually really liked it. At first I wasn't sure if it was spicy enough but as I finished my first bite, the spice started to creep up and build on me. It brought an extra layer of flavor and warmth to the noodles.
Since I had been taste testing and playing with recipes I had a bunch of extra sauce packets from the carbonara (below), I got crazy with my stir fried noodles and mixed two different sauce packets for the best of both worlds. A well balanced spicy, tingly, umami, done in a pinch sauce for my pad thai inspired shrimp & tofu noodle stir fry. Of course, I had to add a fried egg over top along with a bunch of fresh herbs, a heavy squeeze of lemon, and finally a hit of the Momofuku chili crunch because its my favorite!
- Tingly Chili Wave Noodles
These were my favorite of the three! Right off that bat, these were different from the other two. The noodles were wider and the sauce packet had a very strong Szechuan peppercorn smell.
These had way more ingredients than the prior two which resulted in a more balanced flavor. They were savory, umami, sweet, slightly less spicy than the spicy soy noodles, and had a slight tingly sensation to them. The wider noodles had a better mouthfeel and reminded me of biang biang noodles. If you were to only get one I would definitely recommend trying these out first!
The tingly chili noodles got revamped into a spicy carbonara (sorry not sorry Italians) and finished it off with a sprinkle of the tingly seasoned salt. This was a hit among me and my friends for a quick lunch. Super quick, thanks to 4 minute cook time on these faux pappardelle noodles!
- Momofuku Chili Crunch
I love a good chili crunch and let me tell you that this chili crunch is next level. It’s spicy but not crazy spicy that you can't eat a whole spoon of it. But in all honesty my favorite part is the crunch. Momofuku chili crunch is actually one of the only chili crunch that is actually crunchy. There are sesame seeds, shallots, and garlic that keep the chili crunch crunchy and I am loving it.
- Tingly Seasoned Salt
Despite the name, the tingly seasoned salt is not that salty. I sprinkled about 1 tablespoon over the carbonara and it definitely gave a good tingly sensation but I still had to add some more salt to bring out the flavors. I love this product to sprinkle over a dish, especially something that’s in need of a numbing sensation but if you're on a budget maybe give this a pass.
- Momofuku Tamari
Tamari was the most surprising item I purchased solely because I really had no hopes of it being anything out of the ordinary. Just by giving it a sniff you wouldn't know that there is anything different about this tamari but one shot of it straight to my mouth and I was proven wrong. The tamari wasnt overly salty which makes it perfect for dosing your food all over and the kombu flavor that comes through at the end was a nice finishing touch that reminded me of the high quality sauce you would get at a Japanese restaurant.
My Overall Review:
My overall experience with Momofuku's website was pretty good. Simple and quick. Most products are about $12- 13 and they tend to push their noodles and chili oil crunches more than any other product. I wasn't aware that they even had a line of liquids or salts until I scrolled through their websites. Since they are based in New York, the shipping was super quick and free after spending $45 which is basically buying 4 products.
Not including shipping or tax, the price per packet is $2.60. Compared to the unhealthy instant ramen that can be a steep price. About 150% more than average. However, compared to the healthier instant ramens out there Momofuku's price is right on point and can even rival others with their slightly cheaper pricing.
My favorite products were the spicy soy noodles, tingly chili wavy noodle, chili crunch, and tamari! These four products are the ones I will be buying again. The noodles have the perfect chewy texture, cook in 3 - 4 minutes and the flavor packets are perfect on their own or amped up into a totally different recipe. The crunch is not too spicy so you can do a big tablespoon or two and the only thing that will change is the amount of crunch you’ve added. The crunch comes from sesame seeds, garlic and shallots and I've added it to everything possible.
Not only are these products great by themselves but they are so fun to elevate and adapt to other recipes. Check out how you can make restaurant ramen noodles with 7 common ingredients here and if you want the full recipes I made check below!
Momofuku Noodle Recipes
2 packs of momofuku tingly chili noodles (no sauce packets needed)
6 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced into strips
2 egg yolks
½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper & tingly seasoned salt to finish
2 - 3 tablespoons of reserved pasta water
Chili crunch for topping
Shrimp & Tofu Noodle Stir Fry:
2 packs of (thin) momofuku noodles
½ cup of thinly sliced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small knob of ginger, minced
¼ cup of shrimp, peeled & deveined
½ cup of cubed firm tofu
1 spicy soy seasoning packet
1 tingly chili seasoning packet
Chopped scallion, cilantro, lemon, & chili crunch for topping
Kimchi & Spam Jjigae:
2 - 3 slices of spam
½ cup of sliced onions
½ cup of roughly chopped kimchi
¼ cup of kimchi juice
1 cup of broth or water
1 tablespoon of tamari
1 pack of momofuku spicy soy noodles
2 - 3 slices of tofu
Scallion & mozzarella cheese & chili crunch for topping
Spicy Carbonara Instructions:
To a pot of boiling water, cook both packets of noodles for 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
To a pan, sear the bacon until crispy and the fat has been rendered out. Scoop the bacon out and reserve the bacon fat for another recipe.
To a bowl, add in 2 eggs yolk, ½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, freshly cracked black pepper, and tingly seasoned salt. Whisk to mix everything together.
Add in 2 tablespoons of reserved pasta water and whisk until you have a smooth sauce.
Add in your pasta and toss to combine. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, tingly seasoned salt, more parmesan cheese, and the crispy bacon. Enjoy while hot!
Shrimp & Tofu Noodle Stir Fry Instructions:
To a pot of boiling water, add both packets of noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside
While the noodles are cooking, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to a large pan or wok. Drop in the sliced onion, minced garlic and ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add in the cabbage and carrot. Cook for another minute.
Remove the veggies and drizzle in another tablespoon of oil.
- Sear the tofu and baby shrimp for 1 minute. Push aside and crack in the egg. Cook to your liking and remove the egg from the wok.
- Toss in the noodles along with the both seasoning packet and the reserved veggie. Give it a good mix.
- Serve with chili oil crunch, sliced scallion, chopped cilantro, fried egg, and a good hit of lemon Enjoy!
Kimchi & Spam Jjigae Instructions:
To a pot, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, sear the spam slices on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Next, drop in your kimchi & onions and sear for 1 minute.
Pour in the kimchi juice along with 1 cup of broth and the noodle seasoning packet. Bring to a boil then drop the noodles and sliced tofu in. Cook for 2 minutes
Top with sliced scallion and mozzarella cheese. Enjoy while hot!
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