As we all know, the Superbowl isn't just about football. It’s about family, friends, commercials….and FOOD. When you think Superbowl snacks, you think pizza, buffalo wings, chips with accompanying guac, salsa, bean dip. You think cheese, sour cream, and delicious things that are fried. In other words, you don’t think of homemade ramen, pork buns, and bread pudding - but that’s exactly what I enjoyed two Sundays ago.
It was my first time visiting Long Island City and I took my time admiring gleaming towering condos and sleek office buildings. Upon entering Frank’s apartment, the first thing that caught my eye was a tray of pork belly, braised in mirin, sugar, xiaoxing wine (instead of sake) and a little rice vinegar.
I caught myself staring and it took every ounce of willpower not to snatch one up. Frank’s friends started rolling in and I got to meet the crew.
Frank failed to mention this TV in his invite. This 70 inch tv was bigger than most full-size beds in NYC.
After Queen Latifah finished, we started on our guacamole appetizer. Frank used a molcajete, the Mexican version of the mortar and pestle, to grind and mash the avocado, onion, jalapeno, lime, olive oil, and some tomato. Amit also brought a spicy chicken cheese and bean dip.
After the Seahawks scored the first 2 points, Frank began assembling the pork buns. The buns gave off a pillar of steam when they were split open.
Spicy mayo was applied first, then lettuce, pork belly slice, then cucumbers. Everything came together well and I had to force myself to stop after my second pork bun to save room for ramen.
After watching the lopsided game and a few commercials (love the epic Bud Light one with Arnold Schwarzenegger), we started on prepping the ramen.
For the tonkotsu broth, Frank doubled the amount of meat/bones in Kenji’s recipe and added 5.5 lbs of pig trotters, 2 chicken carcasses, and 2 lbs of chicken leg bones which resulted in 10 bowls of finished reduced stock. First, we dropped the Sun noodles into boiling water. Next, we added a spoonful of fatback before ladling in the broth. After a few short minutes, we drained the noodles and dropped them into the bowl of broth.
We added toppings which included shredded pork butt, cucumbers, bok choy, corn, bamboo shoots, ginger, green onions, and eggs.
For the eggs, after some trial and error, Frank found that 3 qts of water with 6 medium eggs at 6.5 min was optimal. Soak in soy and mirin for minimum of 3 hours. The egg I chose was perfect, the yolk oozed out just like in the movies.
The last touch was adding a few tsps of either burnt garlic chili oil or red miso. Every component in the ramen complimented each other. The noodles were snappy and perfectly cooked. They weren’t thin and straight like Ippudo, but more curly like the ones found in Bassanova’s Green Curry Ramen. The tonkotsu broth was complex and creamy. The sweetness from the corn played well with the charred flavor of the pork belly.
Everyone enjoyed the ramen and gradually slipped into a food coma. Halftime was coming up and they decided to toss the ole pigskin around and run a few routes outside in the yard. I elected to stay in since I was way too full to move and because I was a huge fan of Bruno Mars.
The night ended with a delicious rendition of bread pudding with lemon curd, served at Anita Lo’s Annisa. Frank knocked it out of the park for a touchdown. The top of the pudding was crispy caramelized chunks of bread, the middle was a creamier texture, and the tangy lemon curd brought the dish together. Frank used whole wheat challah instead of french bread.
Thanks again to Frank for opening up his apartment and providing 70 inches of HD, guac, pork belly buns, ramen, and bread pudding. Really impressive for his first try! I'd like to book my reservation now for the next Frankly Ramen™ popup.
- All ingredients for pork buns and ramen can be purchased in Chinatown. Including the cost of the bamboo steamer, the 3 course dinner cost roughly $140 to feed 6 people
- Sunrise Mart in Soho is a great source for Japanese ingredients
The bun: The 2:1 bun to pork belly ratio was slightly off - Frank acknowledges the bun was a little thick. If anyone knows where to get smaller mantou buns, please let me know
The pork belly: the marinade and flavor was great. Next time, to make the skin less chewy and more crispy, Kenji recommends running a kitchen torch over the skin a few times
Burnt garlic chili oil: Kenji’s recipe says to burn minced garlic till it's black, throw into a blender with sesame oil, and cook again with fresh chilis. Frank recommends not burning the garlic all the way since it ends up with a pretty polarizing taste