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MSG Coma at Momofuku Noodle Bar

  • y

After hearing wonderful things, I finally got around to checking out Momofuku Noodle Bar. I started with several small plates, including the wonderful pork belly buns, all of which I much enjoyed. My much anticpated ramen was yum up until I was in the middle of it when I got hit by an MSG-induced wave of dizziness and mild nausea. It was terribly disappointing - I don't expect to experience that for $16 noodles, the cost of which is supposedly justified by the intense preparation of the stock and quality of the ingredients....

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  1. I've not been to the Noodle Bar, but from what I've read on the board, the ramen is not generally praised by hounds, inspite of the name of the place.

      1. sounds more like a pork belly fat attack on your liver.

        1. I know Setagaya states they use no MSG in their ramen. I tend to trust your physical reaction, did you see any mention on the menu as to whether they use MSG or not? Even the saddest, most modest Chinese places have gotten away from that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sing me a bar

            I'm surprised by the MSG situation. It's surprising for me that at this time and age, when MSG is pretty much a no-no just about anywhere, that a popular restaurant touting well-thought out food preparation technique, would still use it.

            1. re: RCC

              I know - initially I didn't believe it either but I didn't have anything else that could've invited that reaction...

          2. Here's an excerpt from an article back in 2006:

            "Barring actual poisons, is there any foodstuff more vilified than MSG? One might point to saccharin, or the supposedly Mikey-cidal combo of Pop Rocks and soda, but it's hard to beat MSG's toxic haze of associations: Ringing ears. Headaches. Brain lesions in rats. Top Ramen. That's why I was surprised to see chef David Chang quoted in November's Food & Wine on the appeal of the dread ingredient. According to the piece, he uses Kewpie mayonnaise from Japan in the lobster rolls at his restaurant Momofuku, claiming that it is "the best mayonnaise in the world, because it has MSG." Was he just being cheeky? Or could Chang be on the leading edge of an MSG revival?"

            Link to full article: http://www.slate.com/id/2140999/

            1 Reply
            1. re: pinchy

              Thanks pinchy - I was sure I did not imagine my reaction...

            2. I am very sensitive to MSG as well but never experienced that at Momofuko-did u ask if they use MSG in preps?

              2 Replies
              1. re: UES Mayor

                No, to be honest, I felt so sick I downed a huge glass of water and just got out and left. I was fine 2 minutes after I got out the door into fresh air.

                1. re: ywwan

                  Then you probably were suffering from something else-an msg attack would have stayed with you-esp. if you became fine after 2 minutes of fresh air.

              2. Seems odd. I am actually quite sensitive to MSG (I get a very dry mouth from it). I had the same dish on Sunday (Momofuku pork ramen) and it was delicious, amazing, and if there was any MSG, it must have been miniscule as I did not have any awareness of MSG. It was incredibly rich - maybe that's what affected you. If I'd had the pork belly buns (instead of the mushroom buns) PLUS the pork belly ramen, I think I would have landed up in hospital!!

                1. i went to momofuku over the summer and was not impressed. i ordered a pork bun and the meat was nearly cold when it came out. don't think i will be going back.