momofuku, Author at Momofuku Peachy Keen

The Story of Momofuku Chili Crunch

Ever since the early days of Momofuku, we’ve been working on a chili oil that has heat, texture, umami, and a proper balance of flavor. The result is Momofuku Chili Crunch. The story of how we got here is a journey that takes us from America, to China, to Mexico (with a quick stop in Denmark).

To listen to the story, check out this podcast with Dave, Chris Ying, and Eddie Huang on the Dave Chang Show.

As a kid, Dave’s favorite hot sauces were the vinegary, oily Chinese chili sauces from restaurants like Wu’s Garden and Peking Gourmet Inn near his hometown in Virginia. Later, after moving to New York, he began eating a lot of Lao Gan Ma chili crisp, the Chinese condiment beloved by knowledgeable cooks around the world. When Momofuku first began serving roast ducks at Ssäm Bar, chili crisp was one of the OG condiments.

A few years ago, while cooking at an event in Copenhagen, Dave improvised another crunchy chili oil using a variety of smoky, sweet, dried chilies. Chef Rosio Sanchez, who provided the chilies, said it reminded her a bit of salsa macha—a thick, oily salsa she loves to spoon on everything from tacos to rice bowls. Speaking of tacos, we first tried salsa seca, a lesser-known but no less delicious “dry salsa,” at Eastside Tacos in LA, and, in fact, led us to create a dish of butterball potatoes with crispy dried garlic, shallots, and sesame seeds at Majordōmo.

With Momofuku Chili Crunch, we’re proud to join this incredible tradition of crunchy-spicy sauces from around the world. We spent years tinkering and experimenting in our kitchens in order to create a chili oil that reflects all of our various inspirations and speaks to our specific tastes. Ours uses the same umami base as Momofuku Seasoned Salts, plus a lot of the flavors and textures we love: crispy shallots, sesame seeds, dried garlic, and coconut sugar for a hint of sweetness.

We ❤️ MSG but this product only contains ingredients that are naturally high in glutamic acid.

Momofuku Chili Crunch

Momofuku Chili Crunch is a spicy-crunchy chili oil that adds a flash of heat and texture to our favorite dishes.

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Dave’s Extremely Easy Spicy Shrimp

This is the perfect amount of spice level for me. While I want it spicy, I still want to be able to taste everything else, and the thing I like about our spicy salt is that there’s a roundness to it. It’s not just an umami blast and a spice blast. We put ingredients in there that really do round it all out.

I just peeled some fresh shrimp—and kept the head on. But you can do this just as easily with frozen shrimp, like frozen wild rock shrimp.

If we had a grill I would season these ahead of time and just grill them shell-on. That would be delicious. I could also turn this into fried rice or add rice cakes. There are a lot of different directions to take this dish.

Ingredients
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1–2 lb Shrimp, head-on and peeled (or frozen)
1 medium Onion, thinly sliced
2–3 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Butter
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from ½ lemon
Momofuku Spicy Seasoned Salt
Rice cakes, cooked according to package instructions (optional)

Toss shrimp, oil, and 2 tablespoons of spicy seasoned salt in a bowl and marinate for 10-15 minutes and up to 3 hours. Heat pan over medium heat until it’s hot. Add shrimp to pan.

Flip when one side becomes pink (1–2 minutes), then add the sliced onion and garlic. Cook another minute, then deglaze with lemon juice and butter. If you are adding rice cakes, add them now. Add 1 additional tablespoon of spicy seasoned salt to taste.

Serve with lemon wedges and spicy seasoned salt for finishing.


 

Momofuku Seasoned Salt is a starter pack of flavor to take your cooking to the next level, packed with the same umami-rich ingredients we use in our Momofuku restaurant kitchens. 

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Dave’s Korean One-pot Stew

One of my favorite things to make is any kind of soup or stew. I grew up eating Galbi-tang, which is a short rib soup. You can use any kind of beef you want. I’ve made it with chuck before, which is delicious—but I use short ribs most often. You could soak them in water beforehand, but I’m not. Being a new dad, I try to make food as fast as possible. So this is what I called a raging hard boil Galbi-tang soup because, again, I’m trying to make this as fast as humanly possible. 

I’m not the biggest fan of canned and boxed broths and stocks. I’d rather just use water. All we do here is add the short ribs, cover them in water, and add our savory seasoned salt. It’s almost like a hack bouillon cube. 

Savory is compatible with just about every flavor I find in the world—it’s like superglue. I made this as a Korean stew, but if I add thyme, potatoes, celery, carrots and cooked with some white wine instead, it becomes more French. Or, if I add some rosemary, a parmesan rind, and maybe some cannellini beans, it becomes more Italian. You don’t have to make this Korean stew I grew up eating—we created savory seasoned salt to go with all kinds of flavors.

3–4 pounds Short rib, bone-in, cut into 2-in long pieces
1 Daikon radish, halved and cut into thin slices
4 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch of Scallions, greens and whites, roughly chopped
1 medium Onion, halved and sliced
Pack of Glass Noodles, soaked according to package directions
1 cup Rice Cakes, either cylindrical or sliced
2½ tablespoons Mirin (optional)
Momofuku Savory Seasoned Salt

  1. Add short ribs to a heavy, lidded pot or donabe over high heat and cover with water. Season with 3 tablespoons of Momofuku Savory Seasoned Salt and bring to a boil. Cover and boil for 1½ hours. Check every half hour to be sure short ribs still completely submerged—if not, add more water.
  2. Add sliced daikon, garlic, and another 2 tablespoons of Momofuku Savory Seasoned Salt. Cover and continue until short ribs are very soft, about 30 minutes more. Again, check throughout to be sure everything remains submerged. 
  3. Check for the doneness of your short ribs—they should be cooked through and tender. Adjust seasoning of your stew, adding more savory seasoned salt as needed.
  4. Add chopped scallions, onions, glass noodles, rice cakes, and 2½ tablespoons of mirin (if using), and continue to boil until rice cakes are cooked through, about 5 minutes. 
  5. To serve, spoon stew into individual bowls and sprinkle with additional savory seasoned salt as needed.

 

Momofuku Seasoned Salt is a starter pack of flavor to take your cooking to the next level, packed with the same umami-rich ingredients we use in our Momofuku restaurant kitchens. 

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David Chang’s Rules for Becoming a Chef from Eat a Peach

Lots of people ask David Chang how to become a chef. In his new memoir Eat a Peach, he tells his story. Here is an excerpt from the end of the book where he sets the narrative aside and pens 33 rules he would pass along to anyone who aspires to be a chef.

Eat a Peach is on sale now.

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33 Rules for Becoming a Chef

For those who became chefs because they had to, it’s crazy that anybody with other options would want to work in restaurants. But any chef who has found some degree of success—no matter how illusory that success may be—will end up fielding the same question: How do I become a chef?

For my answer, I’ve cribbed a format from the great Jerry Saltz, who wrote an incredible essay for New York magazine titled “How to Be an Artist.” In the spirit of Jerry’s thirty-three guiding principles for aspiring artists, what follows are my thirty-three rules for becoming a good chef. Nobody needs rules to become a shitty chef. 

I’ve covered some of this material already, but it’s all worth revisiting. Or, if you skimmed over the past 250 pages or so, you’re in luck. All my salient observations about the restaurant industry and usable advice are contained herein. 

I briefly considered getting a bunch of well-known chefs to sign off on this but ultimately decided not to force my perspective on my friends. In that spirit, keep in mind that these rules are all highly subjective and that I’ve broken nearly every one of them at some point. That’s part of the process. 

PART ONE
Do You Love Washing Dishes?
Important questions to get you started.

Rule 1. Being a chef is only partly about cooking.
Before you drop out of school or put in notice at a comfortable job to chase the dream of being a chef, you should make sure you know what you’re getting into. Let’s see how you respond to the following questions:

Do you love washing dishes? How about mopping floors, taking out the garbage, unloading boxes, and organizing the refrigerator? These constitute 90 percent of the job of being a chef. It helps if you enjoy them.

Are you hungry? Sorry—I’m not asking if you want to eat. I’m asking if you’re ready to outwork everyone else around you. Hard work is the great equalizer in the kitchen. If you can grit it out, you can overcome a significant lack of talent, experience, and privilege. 

Were you a theater understudy and/or second-string bench-warmer in high school? Good, because you will need to love being on a team and not always getting the spotlight.

Are you inherently jealous of your friends? Be honest, because you will experience FOMO like never before in your life, as you get into the habit of missing Friday and Saturday evenings, birthdays, weddings, and anything that involves not being at work at night. 

Do you intend to support a cushy lifestyle on your cook’s salary? Hopefully not. (Not that the same applies to the people you work for. Look for someone who has bet it all on cooking.)

Is there anything else you could be doing for a living?

Is cooking your only hope?

Are you still with me?

Then let’s proceed. 

Rule 2. Don’t go to cooking school.
Theoretically, cooking schools are a great idea. They provide a curriculum, experienced instructors, and job placement opportunities. A degree from the Culinary Institute of America will open doors to a perfectly comfortable career track in a hotel restaurant or corporate kitchen that pays a decent salary with benefits. 

But you wanted to be a chef, right?

On a practical level, the scenarios presented to you in culinary school bear no resemblance to a restaurant kitchen. In the real world, you don’t have five people working one station during an easy lunch rush with a forgiving audience. Make no mistake: cooking schools are businesses that are selling you on the illusion that you will emerge from their programs as a bona fide chef. They prey on your not realizing that you can learn all this stuff for free (see rule 9). Of my graduating class of thirty-five at the French Culinary Institute, I can think of only one or two other people who are still cooking professionally. If medical schools had that kind of failure rate, there’d be congressional hearings.  

Rule 3. Study Shakespeare instead.
Even if you’re 100 percent sure that you want to be a chef, I would still urge you to go to college over culinary school. Culinary technique makes cooks. If you want to be a chef, you need a far broader set of skills. 

Go to college and major in engineering, chemistry, microbiology, history, philosophy, or literature. Any of these will come in handy, whether or not you become a chef. Learn about Asian, European, African, and Latin American history and pay attention to how culture evolves around the world. Study the Medicis, the Ottomans, Genghis Khan, the Aztecs, Jared Diamond, Darwinism. I was a religion major, and studying the Bhagavad Gita changed my life. So did studying logic and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. Join the debate club. Practice piano. Write for the college newspaper. Take an interest in your fellow classmates and their stories. 

Pick a state school with low tuition in a vibrant food city like Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, and get a job at a restaurant or a bar. Give them twenty hours of your time a week, and don’t just work in the kitchen. Work as a busser or server, too. You will get a sense of the atmosphere and the rhythms of a hospitality operation. Most important, in getting a college degree while working at a restaurant, you’ll test your ability to follow through on your commitments. Plus, a bachelor’s is a way better safety net than a culinary degree. 

Rule 4. See as much as the world as humanly possible.
Go on vacation with your parents. Stuff your belongings into a duffel bag and hit the road yourself. If you’re a college student, study abroad. If you’re already a cook, here’s the good news: you can cook anywhere. Do not let the language barrier be an excuse. You don’t need an interpreter to understand what the chef means when they gesture over to the pile of plates sitting by the sink. You might have to stay in domiciles with questionable plumbing. That’s what being young is for. I stayed in a homeless shelter while I was working in Japan. it was all I could afford. 

You need to be surrounded by people and understand why cuisine happens the way it does. Eat everything you can. Take it all in—not just the food, but all the beauty, heartache, wealth, poverty, struggle, racism, history, and art you can find. It’s going to help you empathize with people, which is the most powerful tool at a chef’s disposal. 

Rule 5. Fight for the job you want.
When it comes to picking a place to work, aim for a restaurant with a kitchen that will push you beyond your skills and comfort zone. If you’re lucky enough to land a job interview, show up early. Shower and look presentable. Bring all your equipment in case they want you to stage right away. 

If the restaurant tells you they’re not hiring, but you’re sure this is the place for you, don’t give up. For a young Magnus Nilsson, the palace was Pascal Barbot’s tiny kitchen at l’Astrance, in Paris: three Michelin stars at the time (now ridiculously downgraded to two), a highly influential style, and no shortage of capable cooks. Magnus showed up one morning to ask for a job. Like hundreds before him, he was denied. How did Magnus make it? He showed up every single morning for months until they finally granted him a chance. Sometimes getting your foot in the door means wedging it in. 

To read the full list of rules, grab Dave’s new memoir Eat a Peach written with Gabe Ulla.

Excerpted from Eat a Peach: A Memoir, by David Chang with Gabe Ulla published on September 8, 2020 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2020 by David Chang.

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