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2009-10-26

>hundred peachy tasting notes, Momofuku Ko

How do you meet such high expectations? Momofuku Ko consistently ranks in the top 10 best New York restaurant lists and rave reviews continue.

Improbably, this tiny restaurant delivers. Instead of disappointing, it gives me great hope and a glimpse of limitless future possibilities.


No photography allowed, and I obliged. The poster on the right was found in the bathroom.


I shall not decipher my notes. If you want to take a look, go ahead, but be warned, it reads like gibberish (because it is): ...spare space madai trimming disciplined chanterelle arugula yuba skin tomato marinated in ketchup anise basil mirin crispy pork rind butter bread cube spanish mackerel tataki ginger pickled shallot puffed rice yuzu radish tortellini wrapped oxtail meat oxtail consomme bean sprouts poached egg caviar fingerling potato chips parsley corn ravioli chorizo pickled tomatoes mexican cheese "high end tacos" caramelized sweet trout swiss chard potato radish dill garnish grated foie gras riesling gelee lychees pinenut brittle deep-fried beef short ribs cooked sous vide 48 hours onions animal cracker ice cream peach syrup diced peaches olive oil ice cream macerated blueberries black pepper crunch black pepper granita...

Simply put, it was a success, and I was highly impressed.


Now, onto the name. The tale of Momofuku's rise must begin with its distinct name. Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam, Momofuku Ko. The first time you hear the funny name, you may find yourself repeating, Momofuku ... More more... fuk... what??

But Momofuku is hardly an unfamiliar name. Taiwanese entrepreneur named (Wu) Bai Fu (March 5, 1910 – January 5, 2007), inventor of cup noodles and instant noodles, founder of Nissin Food Products Co., was the original Momofuku. THE Ramen King himself, Andō Momofuku.
Yes, Bai Fu in Mandarin, 百福, meaning hundred fortunes, is Momofuku in Japanese. Bai is byaku or hyaku, but also momo - meaning a hundred, a great number, all, a great amount. Fu is fuku - meaning fortune, luck, wealth, blessing. It can mean "food which has been offered to gods." Why not? Of course, momo is a yummy name. Peach is also momo (桃, もも, モモ) as in Peach Boy, Momotarō (桃太郎).
Ko can mean small (小) or child, seed (子) in Japanese. "Nose" (코) in Korean. Detecting any peachy tasting notes yet?
Wishing you much peachy luck, ma pêche.

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