Late Night Snacking with David Chang

Uploaded by vice on Oct 8, 2012


DAVID: I'm David Chang.
We're going to the mean streets of K-Town.

DAVID: I got into this profession because there's
something honest about getting better every day.
Like, OK, my knife skills aren't very good here but, use
it every day.
And after a year or two you can start to see progression.

I spent time at the Mercer kitchen, worked at a variety
of little establishment in Tokyo.
Spent some time at Cafe Boulud under Andrew Carmellini.
There was a variety of things that led to me leaving.
I was having a hard time keeping up with the rest of
the crew at Cafe Boulud.
It sort of reminded me that I wasn't that great.
The cooks around me were all more talented.
And ultimately I would always look at Andrew Carmellini and
be like, I'm never going to be as good as him.

PETER: What's the awareness of Momofuku among the
Korean-American population here?
DAVID: Do you see me hanging out with
Korean Americans much?
SUE: They love you.
Every single day I have like 10 requests from a fucking
Korean newspaper--
the third largest Korean newspaper.
DAVID: I needed to challenge myself.
I thought opening a restaurant would be the ultimate test to
see if I could just do it.
And that was really the first goal.
Can I open it up?
Didn't really think about the food I was going to serve.
I knew I wanted to do a noodle bar, and that was
the extent of it.
This spot was the first restaurant.
This was the original noodle bar.
And now this is transformed to Momofuku Ko.
And we have Ssam Bar on 13th and Second, and Milk Bar.
And yeah, shit, just a lot.
We are on the corner of 32nd and 5th.
We're going to Mad for Chicken.
We're here with our good friend, Peter Meehan,
co-author of our cookbook.
And Sue Chan works at our office at Momofuku.
So that's it.
SUE CHAN: Oh my god, what's this?
What the hell is that?
DAVID: Beer.
SUE: Oh my god.
DAVID: When I lived in Korea, you could get the mini liter,
or like the huge liter.
You just try to drink it as fast as possible.
DAVID: That's just fucking great.
I feel like I'm in Korea.
This is so Korean it's insane.
I am the worst type of chef, I guess.
I don't like to go out to eat to fancy restaurant, or
restaurants in general.
Why did they give us the non-chicken menu?
I can't find any chicken.
Oh, there, on the front page.
I'm dumb.
PETER: Mad for wings, mad for drums, mad for combo.
DAVID: I think we go combo.
What I want to eat, personally, is straightforward
stuff, something that's assuming, and you can go to,
and there's no bullshit.
There's no pretense.
You're just going to eat.
Can we get a mad for combo?
Hot and spicy.
SUE: Notice his nice voice?
DAVID: Sue's leaving soon.
I don't know, Chinese food sort of hits the spot.
Or Asian food, or Korean Town.

I want to have a successful restaurant group.
I want our employees to do well.
I want them to have the creative freedom to express
I want a lot of different things.
But I'm not necessarily too thrilled with the baggage that
comes with it.
We were open.
And we didn't get reviewed for eight months.
I was like, man, we must really
fucking suck, or something.
We did suck.
So it was terrible.
The food was fucking bad.
Because we were just learning how to run a restaurant.
I was trying to figure how to run a cash register.
PETER: The first time I went to Momofuku I
fucking hated it.
I went back later on when they got better.
I had heard they were getting better.
And I had a great meal, and then had three
or four great meals.
And then I wrote the review.
DAVID: And I was trying to figure out who this fucking
Peter Meehan dude was.
Because you always want to spot the critics.
PETER: I was eating at Momofuku every Saturday with
Mark Bittman, who was the guy I used to work for.
He had written about Dave.
And at some point he was like, I'm telling Dave who you are.
And I was like, OK, whatever.
You already gone on to such great heights of fame that I
know I could never sully your reputation
with my byline again.
And it was very awkward and fast, how you want if if
you're a restaurant reviewer.
DAVID: You guys ordered grits and pig tails.
And I think I might have been hungover.
PETER: Quite possibly.
DAVID: And that was it.
I was like, you're fucking Meehan?
I was like, you're the guy.
PETER: Then there was a point at which Dave was getting
bombarded with offers to do a cookbook
from agents and authors.
We were having dinner at Ssam Bar, actually with Mark
Bittman again.
And he was like, well you're not going to be
this popular forever.
So you better cash in quick, and do
this as soon as possible.
And Chang was like, well if people do it with me.
DAVID: I had no idea.
Everyone wanted to write a fucking book.
And I was just like, that's news to me.
PETER: You were less interested in doing a book of
recipes than in kind of getting the story down of the
wild and early years of Momofuku.
And I was more interested in the recipes, because I have to
pay for food at Momofuku.
So being able to make it home seemed
like it might be cheaper.
So I get a little bit.
You get a little bit.
In the end, no one's happy?
DAVID: Yeah, basically.
This is amazing.
Look how crispy this motherfucker is.
SUE: Smells good.

PETER: These fries are fucking wet bullshit.
But this is good chicken.
SUE: This is spicy.
DAVID: Are you Asian, really?
SUE: Are we doing this?
DAVID: Can you handle it?
SUE: Fuck you.
Can Pete Meehan handle this?
DAVID: No, he's Irish.

PETER: We're going to go down to Second Avenue.
SUE: Oh, Second and 13th, please.
Ssam Bar!
DAVID: Yeah, 13th Street and Second Avenue.

SUE: Yes, tell him to come.

DAVID: We're going to Ssam Bar.
SUE: Momofuku Ssam Bar.
DAVID: It's this overrated fucking restaurant.
SUE: Dave, are you OK with cooking tonight, by the way?
DAVID: Yeah, that's not happening.
SUE: No?

JOSE: David Chang.

DAVID: He's the fucking man.
That is Chef Jose Andres.
He's the chef at Jaleo Zaytinya in Washington, DC.
He also has an award winning restaurant in Los Angeles
called the Bazaar at the SLS.
He's incredibly influential.
And it's a pleasure to have him here.
It's a total surprise.

Late night is something that we're trying
to do at Ssam Bar.
And sometimes it turns out to be craziness.
It's about time we fucking show the Spaniard how to make
fucking ham.
MALE SPEAKER: This is the Benton's.
And the eggs.
DAVID: That's OK.
Thank you, Fanny, for educating the
Spanish how to make ham.

DAVID: China, whatever?
China makes some of the best ham in the world.
JOSE: Can I finish my statement, please?

And it's unbelievably good.
You are sick.
DAVID: I know.
JOSE: I couldn't believe you came up with this thing.

DAVID: I was reading the Jose Andres cookbook.
JOSE: And it's amazing.
DAVID: It inspired me.
JOSE: Before I taste it I was like, this guy is insane.
He's a nice kid, but--

and then it's good.
DAVID: It works, right?
It works.
Weirdly enough it works.
Here's to fucking burning and looting.
That's a Bob Marley song.
I have no idea.
I'm drunk.
We're at Momofuku Ssam Bar.
And I'm making pork buns.
And this has become a signature dish at this
I think we probably sell between all the restaurants
maybe 300, 400 a day.
Even though I haven't made a pork bun in quite a while, I
will still say I think I make more pork buns than most
people will on this planet.
You've had Wonder Bread before.
So imagine Wonder Bread without it being cooked in an
oven, and it being steamed instead.
Sauce is Hoisin, which translates to--
I have no fucking idea anymore.
SUE: It's got sesame, salt.

DAVID: It's a couple teaspoons of salt, and some black
pepper, and a couple hours of don't fucking worry about it.

DAVID: Chef Jose Andres, one of the greatest chefs in
America is giving me shit.
And I'm cool with that.
Put the belly on some sea folds.
And that's what you'd have.
Pork buns.
This is not how we really serve it.
SUE: This is just when Dave is alone here at Ssam Bar in the
middle of the night at 2:00 in the morning.
This is how he treats himself right.

DAVID: What's your favorite thing you eat before you go to
bed while you're fucking drunk as shit?
What are you going to say?
Ox tail, fucking bone marrow?
It's that fucking crappy ass piece of pizza that you ate.
And you don't even fucking remember that you ate.

Usually it's like, that's weird.
I just vomited something this morning that I
don't remember I ate.