Momofuku's Signature Bo Ssam Is Getting Even More Expensive

Correction 9/14/22: A previous version of this article stated the bo ssäm does not include appetizers or drinks. The meal comes with a selection of appetizers, sides, and dessert, per Momofuku.

Last year, Eater reported that chef David Chang's restaurant Momofuku Ssäm Bar moved from its home in New York's East Village to South Street Seaport, and since then things have changed exponentially. Some might see it as the brand refining itself; For others, it signals a shift away from the grungy gorilla-style food experiences that Chang was so known for towards a more upscale, bourgeois iteration. Ssäm Bar's original heyday was from 2008 to 2011, notes The Infatuation, but the restaurant as it exists today — while still good eats — is a whole different vibe.

This shift might be most evident in the astronomical hike in prices from when the restaurant first began. In a separate article, Eater reported that Ssäm Bar caused a stir when Chang decided to charge for $8 bread and butter in the early 2000s. Bread and butter service now costs $18, and the restaurant's version of a charcuterie board is priced around $24.

And now another price hike is on the horizon, this time for one of Ssäm Bar's stalwart menu items, the bo ssäm.

Leaving behind humble beginnings

While some of this can be blamed on inflation and the ever-rising costs of food and labor, the New Yorker notes that these changes could be Momofuku trying to compete with other upscale eateries in the Big Apple by giving itself a facelift. Momofuku had humble beginnings, but the brand now spans four cities and includes a multi-platform media company to boot. Business Insider noted last year that Momofuku even made a foray into the instant noodle market, partnering with A-Sha Foods. (The Taiwan-based noodle company is itself no stranger to high prices, selling a four-pack of its "Crazy Rich Ramen" for $550.)

It seems logical that Momofuku would continue to level up as it expands, but it might be jarring for those who were loyal to Ssäm Bar's East Village location to try to have the same experience in a modern building with massive windows overlooking the East River. Equally as jarring as the change in scenery and vibe might be the massive price hike for one of the restaurant's classic menu items, which made Ssäm Bar what it is. 

A premium price for a classic

One of the classic dishes on the Ssäm Bar menu is the bo ssäm, which is a fatty pork shoulder cooked with a sweet glaze. The dish is served with lettuce for wrapping, chilled oysters, rice, and multiple sauces. The New Yorker notes that it was this item that catapulted the restaurant from a fun local hang to an NYC culinary legend.

The price for the item in 2019 when Ssäm Bar still lived on 2nd Avenue was $250 for six or more people, per Eater. This meant you could split it with friends and have a decadent meal for a fairly reasonable price. Now that the restaurant has moved to its new location on the water, the Bo Ssäm costs $90 per person for a minimum of eight people. That doesn't include tax or tip, but does come with appetizers, sides, and dessert, making it more of a set menu than a large, family-style main. Regardless, what might have cost someone around $40 in 2019 now costs over $100. 

While Momofuku restaurants aim to please, diners might be asking themselves if it's worth the high entry price. On the positive side, if you're willing to put in some of the work yourself you can get a smaller version of the dish, (sans oysters) for $200 via Goldbelly.