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David Chang Told Us What Makes Something "Ugly Delicious" — and It's Beautiful
Plus, more scoop from the chef on his new Netflix show, now streaming.
David Chang is here to remind you that food needn't be perfectly plated or breathtakingly beautiful in order to wow your palate. The James Beard Award-winning chef behind Momofuku calls these superficially less-appealing foods (and his new Netflix show) Ugly Delicious. So, what is "ugly delicious," exactly? We got Chang himself to explain the description during an interview ahead of the show's release on Friday, February 23.
So, what is Ugly Delicious?
"It encompasses a lot of things right now, but at its core, [Ugly Delicious means], 'I'm appreciating foods that, for a long time, I thought were uncool because they didn't look delicious," the chef/host told The Feast. "Everyone wants to eat well," but it's all about appreciating each others' different cultures and ways of thinking.
Hungry for more of an explanation?
The show won't leave you yearning too long for examples of such ugly and delicious bites. In fact, in its first episode, you'll encounter a shining example: sushi pizza. Prepared by Ryu Yoshimura of Savoy in Tokyo, the otoro-topped, wasabi-heavy creation is something completely unique. (Case in point: It has mayonnaise on it.)
Chang admittedly felt wary of Chef Yoshimura's super expensive, oceanic take on pizza. "I was like, 'What is this guy doing? This is fusion. This is weird,'" he confessed to us. "But in [Yoshimura's] mind, it's completely sensible. He's using a dough as rice, and he just thinks that's sushi." (Spoiler: Chang and his controversial sidekick for the segment, Aziz Ansari, seemed fairly mind-blown that the mayonnaise schmear wasn't weird once they tasted it.)
"I had to remind myself that I cannot judge [Yoshimura] for what he's doing — even if I don't quite understand it, I have to accept his viewpoints." And that's what Ugly Delicious is all about.
While Savoy served up new age sushi, there's one tiny restaurant in Tokyo that has a special place in Chang's heart. As in, he'd eat it every day. It's called Sushi Sawata, and with two Michelin stars and only five seats, it's "incredibly difficult to get in."