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H20pe for Haiti and Bo Ssam from Momofuku


I can’t imagine that there is anyone left in this world that hasn’t heard of the devastating recent events in Haiti.  On January 12, the small Caribbean county was hit by a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake.  By January 24, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. As of February 12, an estimated three million people were affected by the quake.  The Haitian Government reports that between 217,000 and 230,000 people have been identified as dead, an estimated 300,000 injured, and an estimated 1,000,000 are homeless.  It is also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings have collapsed or been severely damaged. As you can imagine, the current living conditions in Haiti are deplorable!   In the aftermath, many countries have responded to appeals for humanitarian aid, pledging funds and dispatching rescue and medical teams, engineers and support personnel.  In addition, numerous church groups, charitable organizations and private citizens have stepped in to help as well, including the food blogging community.  Determined not to stand idly by, BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine [2] has decided to run an online raffle to raise funds for the relief effort in Haiti.  This relief effort is called H2Ope for Haiti.


H20pe for Haiti was devised as a way for BA-CFF to raise funds to supply much needed water to Haiti through Concern Worldwide [4]. This non-governmental international humanitarian organization founded in 1968 works around the world to reduce suffering and work towards the ultimate elimination of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. Concern Worldwide has been a presence in Haiti since 1994 and had over 100 staff members on the ground when the earthquake struck.  Despite losing several team members in the tragedy, they have been quick to act with distribution of supplies, including 135,000 liters of water per day [5].

To implement this fundraiser, BA-CFF is running an online raffle, with prizes donated by participating food bloggers (like me).  The money raised will be paid directly into a Justgiving [6] page.  Justgiving is the United Kingdom parent of Firstgiving, the site used in the Menu for Hope events.  Every dollar raised gets paid directly into the charity’s account, to be applied exclusively to the Haiti relief effort as agreed by Concern Worldwide.  Justgiving makes it really easy to donate in that that they accept credit cards, debit cards and Paypal as payment methods.


My raffle item for this fundraiser is a copy of David Chang’s bestselling cookbook, Momofuku [8] (PRIZE CODE: HFH12).  It’s no secret that I have fallen in love with this book.  I’ve written about it here [9] and here [10].  And now, for the price of a $10.00 raffle ticket, you can have the chance to win one for yourself.  H20pe for Haiti’s list of fabulous raffle prizes and instructions for donating can be found on Jeanne’s site at Cook Sister [11], and at BA-CFF’s Justgiving page, found at http://www.justgiving.com/h2ope4haiti [12]. I hope you’ll consider participating.


Now, as an added incentive to donate, and because I love you guys, I have another Momofuku dish to share with you.  This one is really going to knock your ever lovin’ socks off because it features pork!  And, not just any old pork either. Nosiree!  I’m talking about a big old hunk of pork butt cooked low and slow for hours and hours, until it’s gorgeously caramelized and falling off the bone tender. I’m talking about the pork in David Chang’s Bo Ssäm!


Bo Ssäm is a popular dish in Korean cuisine in which steamed pork and various accompaniments are wrapped in leafy greens such as lettuce or sesame leaf. The word ssäm [14] literally means “wrapped”.  It is often served with a thick, spicy paste known as ssämjang [15] and several small side dishes or banchan [16] such as kimchi.

In Chang’s version, the pork is coated with a sugar and salt dry rub and roasted low and slow, barbecue-style, for many hours, until it can just be pulled from the bone with a fork.  The rest of his bo ssäm “package” includes his version of ssämjang, raw oysters, Ginger-Scallion Sauce [9], rice and kimchi. I wasn’t originally convinced about the oysters, but then I read several accounts of how magical they are with the pulled pork. Still, I wasn’t about to deal with shucking fresh oysters in my kitchen. I’m the Accident Prawn [17], remember?  Oyster shuckers and me are a dangerous combination!


Luckily, I live in Florida, and the one thing I can always find here are freshly shucked oysters, neatly stored in plastic containers.  I figured that was the best way to go.

I didn’t make my own kimchi either. {{{hanging my head in shame}}}.  Instead, I bought some at a local Asian market.  The owner is Korean and she makes several kinds of kimchi fresh from scratch every day.  It is really good, too!  I knew that any kimchi I could whip up wouldn’t be nearly as good as hers, so I took that shortcut too.  The thing is, that by taking little shortcuts like this, a time and labor intensive meal like bo ssäm doesn’t seem so daunting.  Thus, you might be more likely to actually try it at home.  And, while it is always admirable to make each component of every dish yourself, it isn’t always necessary.  I’m not talking Semi-Homemade [19] here.  I’m just saying that outsourcing a few things sometimes isn’t the end of the world.


As far as recipes go, Chang’s pulled pork isn’t difficult at all to prepare.  The hardest part is waiting for the pig to cook.  But, this also gives you lots of time to prepare the side dishes and sauces.  It also gives you lots of time to do the laundry, water your plants, pay some bills or take a little nap. (I skipped right on over to that last one!)  And, I have to tell you, people, that this pork is so very juicy and succulent – utterly amazing!  A total foodgasm if there ever was one!

Presenting, the naked pork:


Here’s what it looked like wearing its salt and sugar rub:


Here it is at the halfway mark:


And, here it is out of the oven and all ready to jump on your plate:


Oh, baby!


And, as if it could possibly get any better, get this.   This whole meal, which feeds at least eight people, cost me about $36.45 to make – including the oysters and the store-bought kimchi!  Can you believe it?  That gorgeous ten pound pork shoulder only set me back $16.50!  Momofuku Ssäm Bar charges $180.00 for this “dining experience”, which rounds out to about $22.50 per person for eight people, not including tax and tip.  I was able to do it for $4.55 per person.  Sure, the ambiance in my dining room probably isn’t as cool as Momofuku’s, but who cares!  The point is that you can create this fabulous feast in your own home for a fraction of what it costs to go out.  My cost was about 20% of what I would have paid at ANY restaurant, which leaves a nice chunk of change left over for Mama to get herself a new pair of shoes!

Trust me, people!  You need this book! Seriously! You do!