When David Chang unveiled his new menu item, Fuku Fingers, a couple months back, media outlets swarmed. Even though they were basically chicken tenders topped with fried chilies, the announcement was big news in food circles. It’s a rule of thumb: When Chang talks, the people listen.

The soap box has been hard-won over the course of the decade-plus that Momofuku has dominated the New York dining scene. Like his swashbuckling cohort Anthony Bourdain, Chang earned a DNGAF reputation by never being shy about his unfiltered opinions—dispensed everywhere from Twitter, to his curmudgeonly GQ column, to the pages of Lucky Peach.

What’s most interesting about Chang’s Proclamations is that, for someone who operates in the upper echelons of dining, the chef is often cast as the People’s Champ, celebrating the glory of lowbrow addictions and mass-produced foods.

His most recent #hottake about pie, however, is a reminder that he’s always unpredictable. When it comes to the Momofuku mogul, you’ve got to say on your toes to keep track of the Chang seal of approval—and his hammer of disapproval. Here is a breakdown of the foods and beverages that Chang loves (and despises).


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: September 2014
Why: “I’ve harbored a dark secret: I love cheap, watery swill,” writes Chang. The chef believes that shitty beer “pairs really well with food,” especially when it’s spicy. “And there’s a time and place for imperial stouts and barrel-aged saisons. But 95 percent of the time, I don’t want something that tastes delicious. I want a Bud Light. I am not being falsely contrarian or ironic in a hipsterish way. This is something that I genuinely feel: I do not want a tasty beer.” (Photo: Budweiser) 

Panda Express

Verdict: Loves to hate
Date of proclamation: September 2015
Why: 2015 marks the year Panda Express makes its long-awaited return to NYC—and it will not receive the co-sign from Chang. In a New York Times article, he’s quoted saying: “After 1,800 locations, to be that consistently mediocre is unbelievable. It’s something we can all aspire to…I feel New Yorkers are savvy enough to know good Chinese food,” he went on. “Even white people—and I say that lovingly—know good Chinese food.” He does admit that orange chicken is a good airport option, though. (Photo: WikiCommons)


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: February 2014
Why: “Right now, if I had to wager on what might be the next pork belly or kale salad, I’d put my chips on bologna…It’s a blank canvas of pureed meat, ready for inspiration to take hold. You can make it from duck, veal, chicken, pork, beef, and a variety of game. You can smoke it, use different spices, change just about anything about it.” (Photo: salumeriabillese.com)

Pumpkin Pie

Verdict: Hates
Date of proclamation: November 2015
Why: “Do I want a gourd-custard pie? It’s fucking gross. I mean it’s a disgusting concept. I don’t want to eat anything derivative of gourd. Listen, pumpkin pie is not delicious by any means. You know what’s better than pumpkin pie? Any kind of pie! Everything in the world is better.” (Gif: Lucky Peach)

Martin’s Potato Rolls

Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: N/A
Why: Along with Brooks Headley at Superiority Burger, Chang opted for the compact, chewy potato roll as a vehicle for his fried chicken thighs at Fuku. (Photo: Martin’s)

Turkey (white meat)

Verdict: Hates
Date of proclamation: November 2014
Why: “Guys, turkey is not good. The dark meat is fine—infinitely better than the meat-cotton that is the turkey breast. It’s what to do with the white meat that’s the real ball-breaker. I would say feed it to your dog, but maybe your dog knows better than your friends and family?” (Photo: Flickr/Rene Schwietzke)


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: May 2008
Why: He told Serious Eats the Louisiana-style fried chicken chain was one of his guilty pleasures.


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: May 2015
Why: During his keynote address at SXSW, Chang cited Chick-fil-A as inspiration for Fuku’s chicken sandwich. (Photo: Liz Barclay)


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: August 2013
Why: Chang has been on a crusade to rectify MSG’s tarnished image. “The funny thing is that I can make some stupid fucking hipster dish with Dorito powder and serve it on roasted corn with fucking lime juice and people would eat the shit out of it. If I say, ‘That’s got MSG in it,’ no one’s going to say, ‘Well, that sounds delicious.’ But if I put Doritos on it…for fuck’s sake, Taco Bell’s marketing it directly.”


Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: September 2015
Why: In mourning the death of the pastry chef, Chang revealed his love of doughnuts—especially those from Federal Donuts in Philadelphia. “Their cinnamon-brown-sugar doughnuts are all about the temperature (hot) and texture (light and fluffy).” (Photo: Facebook/Federal Donuts)

BBQ Brisket

Verdict: Loves
Date of proclamation: May 2015
Why: “There cannot be enough praise heaped upon the brisket,” says Chang of Aaron Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX. “Nothing but salt, pepper, and smoke, and the reason it’s so good is that they care more than anyone else. I literally cried when I ate it.”