Back in 2004, when David Chang was getting ready to open the very first Noodle Bar on First Ave, he had a big bread dream. At the time, he was often eating at Oriental Garden, a mainstay Cantonese spot in Chinatown, and he was obsessed with getting the owner, Mr. Choy, to teach him how to make buns from scratch. Mr. Choy rebuffed him. Dave asked again. Mr. Choy rebuffed him again, until he finally handed Dave a piece of paper with two things written on it: an address and the name John. The paper led him to May May Foods, a local company that supplied New York Restaurants with buns.
Mr. Choy knew our original kitchen was far too small to make bread by hand, so we bought it instead and filled it with pork belly. We continued to buy our breads from places around the city until we opened Noodle Bar at Columbus Circle, where at last, we have space for our bread program.
The team starts early every morning with the ingredients―flour, sugar, salt, milk, crisco, baking powder, and yeast. Throughout the day, they shape them into the various bun shapes we serve on our menu. For our entire history, we had always served the same style of bun: it looks like a clamshell. It’s filled with pork. We wanted to do something different here.
Flour, sugar, salt, milk, crisco, baking powder, and yeast are mixed in our Hobart.
Once the dough has risen, it has to be punched down and rise again before we can roll it out. Once the dough is ready, the team hand rolls the buns behind the glass in Bāng Bar. After they are rolled, the buns go through proofing, and then they are baked.
Our shrimp patties are made from gulf shrimp mixed with kochu karu. We sear them on the plancha before they go into the buns. The finished buns are stacked with shrimp, pickled onions, spicy mayonnaise, and lettuce.