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Feb 2, 2010 07:42 PM

Momofuku Tamales

I read an article somewhere about these outrageous tamales- has anyone had them and at which David Chen outlet can the be purchased? We thought we'd try the bakery, but the counterperson looked at me like I had three eyes!

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  1. I had them at Noodle Bar about a week or two ago. They come in three different varieties, I think a chinese sausage one, something (jalepeno?) and cheese, and a third I completely forgot. To be honest I didnt really care for them. I should preface that with the fact that I haven't had many tamales in my life and may not have the taste for them, but they were the least favorite item I tried that night. All the same, give it a shot if you're interested. It was only 8 or 9 bucks for all three.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MinhLikesFood

      Agreed. They're not very good. The sausage is the best of the 3 since it actually tastes like something other than the overwhelming dough. stick to the pork buns

    2. The pork and kim chee tamales are delicious. They recently changed from a corn husk wrapping to a banana leaf, which imparts its own nice musky flavor. It's made with pork fat, which isn't so easy to come by in these parts, (lots of vegetarian-friendly American style Mexican food in the East Village) so they are extra unctious and delicious. I also like the cheese and jalapeno. The spinach and Chinese sausage tamale is my least favorite of the three, but it's unusual and worth a try. I lived in Southern California for years and pine for good tamales. These may not be authentic, but I think the pork and kim chee tamale is by far the best in the neighborhood.

      1. Are these corn masa tamales or more like Asian rice tamales?

        12 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          Nice, I'm going for the fried chicken dinner this weekend. i will get these too if they're still around and report back.

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            enjoy that fried chicken! one tip is to ask for veggies and tortilla wraps early and often. we went with a party of 8 but I think 6 would be a great number.

            1. re: bigjeff

              6 is a good number and we had a couple of pieces left over. Why would you need to ask for veggies and tortillas early and often?

              1. re: roro1831

                after our apps (pork buns), the sauces came down on the table first, followed by a single veggie basket, so we noshed a bit on the veg. then, the platter of chicken. asked for tortillas, got those maybe 10 min too late. we killed the tortillas quick (as well as veg); not sure if it is advertised or not but it is unlimited of the veg and tortilla and it just took so long to even get a second basket of veg for the other half of the long table we were at. second tortillas took some time to arrive too; for my party, we certainly could have just eaten straight chicken (it's good) but the point of getting it there is the trimmings, condiments, and ability to wrap. that was hindered by how long it took those trimmings to arrive.

                1. re: bigjeff

                  Gotcha, when we went it all hit the table at once. I only used the extras on the Korean fried chicken. Southern fried chicken, IMHO, should not be put in a wrap or use sauce.

                  1. re: roro1831

                    we did some hybrids and definitely, the bib lettuce was great for wrapping up anything; the mere patina of health. those southern thighs were monsters, my my.

          2. re: JungMann

            Corn masa, with lots of rendered pork fat. Banana leaves are used in some regions of Mexico too.

              1. re: bigjeff

                Exactly. Tamales from El Salvador and Guatemala are also wrapped in banana leaves, but I think the noodle bar's tamales are modeled on the oaxaqueño. Not that you'll come across a lot of kim chee tamales in Oaxaca.

              2. re: hungrycomposer

                The pork fat made the masa absolutely delicious, but that only exacerbated the dryness of the pork filling. Kimchi and masa could be an absolutely delicious combination if they get the moisture right.

                1. re: JungMann

                  I thought the pork filling was a little dry too, but I didn't mind it so much. What did you think of the sausage and the jalapeno queso?

                  1. re: ChiefHDB

                    Sausage wasn't on the menu so I didn't get to try it. I saved queso and mole for next time, but neither option really blew away my dinner partner, who had the "tamale flight" as they called it.

            1. Only Momofuku Noodle Bar (run by David Chang, not David Chen :) has tamales.


              8 Replies
              1. re: kathryn

                The tamales were good, a little on the wetter side (better than dry). I thought the sausage one was by far the best. Contrary to hungrycomposer's post, there was no spinach so maybe they changed it up since you went. The kimchee tamale with pork shoulder mixed in was also very good. I thought the jalapeno queso tamale was lacking.

                1. re: ChiefHDB

                  The corn husk wrappers generally absorb some the fat, so the banana leaf tamale tastes a little richer in comparison. I had the tamales about 2 weeks ago and the filling in the sausage tamale was definitely mixed with spinach. The filling in yours wasn't green?

                  1. re: hungrycomposer

                    No green. It just looked like cooked sausage. My friend took pictures, I'll check with him.

                    1. re: ChiefHDB

                      Hmm, the picture doesn't really clear it up. It looks like there may be some green in there, but I'm not sure.


                      1. re: ChiefHDB

                        I have a full review of the tamales and the fried chicken dinner my blog:

                        The old bay chicken was the consensus choice. I would definitely do the dinner again. I thought it would be a small amount of food for how much we were paying, but it was actually a really good value.

                        1. re: ChiefHDB

                          I felt the same way. $100 for fried chicken? After splitting up the check I had no problem with it, and no one left hungry.

                          1. re: ChiefHDB

                            Your friends are different than mine because we felt the Korean style was head and shoulders better than the southern style. It could be a dark meat vs. white meat thing but the southern style needed all the help the sauces could provide.

                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              Don't get me wrong, I liked the Korean style, I just felt it had that msg-Americanized Chinese food aftertaste which just got to be too much after awhile. Plus, it wasn't up to the level of some of the other Korean fried chicken I've had around town.

                2. Now there's a chicken mole tamale which is very delicious. Earthy, rich, dark meat, with a subtle mole sauce. The sausage tamale is off the menu - this is quite an improvement.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hungrycomposer

                    Ugh why couldn't they have gotten rid of the boring jalapeno queso one? I liked the sausage the most, but chicken mole definitely sounds interesting.