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Where Momofuku Chef David Chang Eats When He's In Los Angeles
By now word is out that David Chang is bringing both Momofuku (under the name North Spring) and Milk Bar to Los Angeles. Furthermore, his love of L.A. is well documented (check out his Instagram if you need more proof). And on a recent episode of Joe House's podcast House of Carbs, Chang doubled-down on his love of L.A.'s food scene, specifically that of Koreatown's. So, dear reader, we're firing up the bus and hitting the streets. It's time to take a tour of David Chang's L.A.
First stop, Koreatown.
"Ktown, right now, is probably the coolest food in all of America. So, why would you eat anything but that?" Chang says on House of Carbs (and that's coming from a New Yorker who's Momofuku empire helped make the city's dining scene cool). It should also be noted that Chang's magazine—Lucky Peach—devoted one of its final issues entirely to Los Angeles, and that Koreatown was featured extensively in the edition's main guide.
So, now let's go deeper into Chang's love of Ktown.
Sun Nong Dan
"Sun Nong Dan [is] my buddy David Chang’s favorite Korean restaurant in LA. (Their galbijjim—rustic, big enough for at least two, and served sizzling in a big stone dish—is his go-to)," Peter Meehan, Chang's partner in Lucky Peach, writes in the magazine's "Los Angeles" issue.
Last February, Chang swung by the restaurant for their spicy braised short ribs:
He was back two nights later. In May of last year he said it's his "favorite place to eat anywhere right now". And he sure wasn't going to let 2017 slip by without another stop into Sun Nong Dan.
Next up is Chang's true love: the patty melt at Cassell's.
"It's the fucking best," Chang recently told Eater's The Upsell. "It's just one of the best goddamn things you could eat anywhere."
"They make it in a way that, I've never seen anything..." Chang added on House of Carbs, apparently too blown away to finish his thought. "They have the amazing, like, sweet mustard sauce. They have the cheese wings. They griddle the cheese, [Joe], in a way that you have the sandwich, and then you have, like, six inches to the left and to the right of griddled cheese that's just like, it's like a T-wing—a Star Wars T-wing of a sandwich."
Lucky Peach rounded out its tour of Koreatown with stops at: Seongbukdong, Dan Sung Sa,
OB Bear (what? It's not like my under-the-radar spot where I like to go at least once a week or anything), Bonjuk, Park’s BBQ, Chungsil Hongsil, HMS Bounty, The Prince, and Guelaguetza.
San Gabriel Valley
"If I'm living in Los Angeles, that's probably two dinners in San Gabriel Valley. Probably for the weekend," Chang tells House of Carbs (there's more to this comment, which we'll get back to later). He hit up Rosemead's Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant in January of last year. He seemed to like it:
"White, Anglo-Saxon Food"
"So, I divide L.A. into, really, like, two categories: it's like White, Anglo-Saxon food, and then everything else," Chang says on House of Carbs.
So where does he eat when he wants WASP food? Sqirl, for sure. Spago. Providence. Philippe's. And while he hasn't been to Jon & Vinny's, it's on his list.
"I've been meaning to go to Jon & Vinny's. Everyone loves that restaurant," Chang continued. "They're my good friends, and I haven't met one person who doesn't like eating at that restaurant. Not only do they love the food, they love the service, they love the music."
Going back to Chang's overall admiration of L.A., here's his ideal eating week in the city: "If I'm living in Los Angeles, that's probably two dinners in San Gabriel Valley. Probably for the weekend. Two or three dinners that'll just be tacos. And then, two or three dinners—one dinner will be Japanese, and another dinner, two dinners will be Korean."
God bless you, David Chang. And God bless this city's food scene.
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