Here's every restaurant 'Ugly Delicious' hosts David Chang and Peter Meehan visit in the first series of the food show on Netflix.
Cut to the chase: Ugly Delicious, David Chang's new show on Netflix, is one of the most important (and probably the best) documentary food series I've watched in years. Not only is it an international master class in some of the world's favorite comfort foods, the construct of the show combined with Chang's oftentimes-confrontational interview style offers powerful takeaways on multiculturalism and American history in every episode—all with an eye towards the future and how (or if) bringing people together around the dinner table can somehow open a gateway to mutual understanding and greater tolerance of our differences.
Sounds deep, huh? It is. And the series is so thoughtfully framed, it's worth watching twice. Oh yeah, and the featured food is spectacular—bucket-list, round-the-world itinerary, mouthwatering, destination-travel stuff. Here's our complete cheat-sheet rundown of every restaurant in the first season of Ugly Delicious.
Episode 1: Pizza
Description: "While pizza purists in Brooklyn and Naples insist on classic ingredients, innovative chefs in Japan and beyond are redefining what makes a good pie."
(1524 Neptune Ave., Brooklyn, 718-372-8606): The series opens inside Totonno's in Brooklyn with a montage of all different kinds of people—of all different ages, races, backgrounds—making and eating pizza. This is important. Later in the episode Cookie, granddaughter of the founder Anthony Pero, tells us that clams are verboten on the family's legendary pizza pies: "You want clams, have spaghetti and clams—that's where it belongs!"
(575 Henry St., Brooklyn, 718-858-4086): David Chang, Peter Meehan, and Lucali's Mark Iacono talk pizza philosophy—"You can throw ramen on top of pizza dough—but is it pizza?"—and Iacono shows them how he rolls out the dough with a wine bottle.
(Minato-ku, Motoazabu, 3 Chome−10−1, Tokyo, 03-5770-7899): Dave Chang dines with Aziz Ansari at the Savoy where they eat a 100 percent Japanese-ingredient pizza—Chef Ryu Yoshimura replaces the tomato sauce with mayonnaise and tops the pie with corn, tuna sashimi, and garnishes it with wasabi.
(157 Wooster St., New Haven, Conn., 203-865-5762): Mark Iacono heads up to New Haven where he sits down with the founder's grandson Gary Bimonte over an original tomato pie and a white clam pie. "One guy once told me: Anyone who puts seafood on a pizza should get slapped in the head," Iacono tells Bimonte.
(17 Via Pignasecca, Naples, Italy, 081-552-0479): Iacono and Meehan head to Italy to eat Vera Pizza Napoletana at da Attilio, where the pizza is made in 50 or 60 seconds with only three or four ingredients—and where they recommend eating the pizza folded into itself, like a little wallet.
(176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-385-0880): Catching up with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck and his smoked salmon pizza—"You know how many of my friends were upset at me? An Austrian making pizza? What the heck!"
(Guldbergsgade 29, 2200 Copenhagen, 35-35-04-63): Chef Christian Puglisi taught himself how to make mozzarella by watching videos on YouTube. Now he owns Jersey cows and makes a sourdough-based pizza dough. "If you only look at how it used to be done or how it's supposed to be done, you don't allow yourself to move it forward," he says.
: Before Chang goes on an epic day of deliveries with Domino's delivery staff, he orders his favorite Domino's pie—a thin crust pizza with alfredo sauce, onions, and bacon—for Iacono to try. "Don't be upset at me, but I order Domino's occasionally—once every couple of months," Chang says.
(Vicolo S. Giovanni Battista, 3, 81013 Caiazzo, Italy, 0823-862718): Here's where Chef Franco Pepe has broken away from Neapolitan pizza rules and instead serves pizza the way he believes it best—the "Mistaken Margherita" has no tomato sauce base, and the ingredients are layered on the base in reverse order. "For me, only good pizza exists," he says.
Seirinkan (2-6-4 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 03-3714-5160): Fresh Japanese ingredients make this pizza 100 percent Japanese—"What Naples has given me is pizza—which I make in the image of myself," Chef Susumu Kakinuma says.
Episode 2: Tacos
Description: "Taco lovers introduce a skeptical David to an explosive array of flavors at LA food trucks, Arab-style taco joints, and pop-up restaurant Noma Mexico."
Early in the episode, the tasting team agree on three rules for identifying a good taco place:
- Unless you are fluent, you shouldn't understand the language on the menu.
- Salsa game strong
- Tortilla game strong (not packaged)
(E. 10th St. and Towne Ave., Los Angeles, 323-309-1622): The team eats the food truck's famous tacos de camaron and Chang exclaims: "It's like har gow!"
(Slagterboderne 8, 1716, Copenhagen, 31-18-52-03): "Most people like the carnitas the best," Chef Rosio Sanchez says. The Danes are also big fans of Sanchez's fish skin tacos.
Noma Mexico (closed): The difference between cooking in Copenhagen and cooking in Mexico, according to Chef René Redzepi? The ingredients—"At home, we also have red things, but they're just beets," he says.
(Tonalá 133, Colonia Roma México, Mexico City, 5264-4291): After spending 27 years in the United States and two deportations, Eduardo Garcia opened Maximo Bistrot in Mexico. "I was meant to come back to my country," he says. Garcia has plans to open a second location in Dubai.
Los Originales Tacos Arabes de Puebla (3600 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, 213-453-0193): The specialty here is tacos Arabes, which originated with the Lebanese migration that arrived in Puebla, Mexico, in the 1920s.
Tacos Árabes Bagdad (Av. 2 Pte. 311, Centro, 72000 Puebla, Mexico, and multiple locations, 222-130-1695): A family business that started when the Galeana's grandparents immigrated to Puebla in 1928, the restaurant serves tacos arabes—applying traditional Lebanese lamb cooking methods to pork.
(Taqueria: 3500 Overland Ave., Los Angeles, and multiple locations, 310-315-0253): A pioneer in Korean barbecue tacos, Roy Choi says, "We're still treated as outsiders, and I love that shit. We're still immigrants, we're still out here on the streets cooking." Choi calls his tacos "a portable vessel of love."
(multiple locations, Los Angeles): Dave Chang eats a Doritos Locos taco and says, "I feel like I've entered Dungeons & Dragons and I'm on level two."
(602 N. Mt. Vernon Ave., San Bernardino, Calif., 909-888-0460): One of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the United States, Mitla was founded in 1937 and sits directly across the street from , where Glen Bell was inspired to mass-produce tacos.
(1703 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, 215-360-5282): The barbacoa here has origins in Capulhuac in central Mexico. "It was my gift to Philadelphia," says co-owner Cristina Martinez. "I just saw a need for this kind of food." Chang orders two lamb and two pork tacos.
(Tennyson 133, Polanco IV Sección, 11570 Ciudad de México, 55-5545-4111): At one of the top restaurants in the world, Chef Enrique Olvera challenges people's conception of what a taco can be, according to Meehan. "I've always been obsessed with how Japanese treat rice and fish—in an almost life-changing way," Olvera says. "So we decided we wanted to do that for tacos." The restaurant serves tacos wrapped in a single origin tortilla, with a main component cooked over coal—and only on the omakase menu.
Episode 3: Home Cooking
Description: "As Dave and Peter Meehan help prep the Chang family's Thanksgiving feast, fellow chefs look back on their most powerful childhood memories of food."
There are few restaurants featured in this episode, which is dedicated to home-cooking, with a focus on Thanksgiving. Chang talks a lot about the differences between cooking in a restaurant and cooking at home—"Home cooking is this: I don't want to get another fucking utensil because I don't want to wash the dishes," he says—and the inevitable, growing ties between the food he's cooking in his professional life and the food he grew up eating at home. "I can't believe I'm quoting a cartoon, but it triggers something," Chang says. "It's when you eat a dish that's not even roast chicken, but that reminds you of a dish of roast chicken cooked by your mom. That's where you want to be in cooking."
Meanwhile, Meehan observes: "I've watched Dave become nationally and internationally famous and open tons of businesses. The amount of private life i think he even has time for is even so small in New York, so it's always funny to see somebody have to cook in their socks and take shit from their moms."
Chefs featured in this episode:
- April Bloomfield, who reminisces about Sunday roasts and roasted vegetables at her grandmother's table.
- Jessica Koslow, who talks about corned beef.
- Ray Garcia, who talks about how having a child has changed the way he eats at home.
- Alex Raij, whose kids don't eat that many foods.
- Jean Georges Vongerichten, who remembers growing up in a house where on weekends they'd host big group lunches and dinners—and the cabbage and pork cooking smells wafting upstairs from the kitchen.
- Rene Redzepi and his wife Nadine Levy Redzepi who say, "I think increasingly when people go out, they want home-cooking."
- Diep Tran who reveals that many chefs don't have a lot of things in their refrigerators and talks about how changed her life: "I love the idea of Babette blowing all her money on one night. As a refugee you're always scrimping and saving, and you'd never do anything so frivolous.
- Evan Kleiman talks about the first time she made a knish.
Episode 4: Shrimp & Crawfish
Description: "Frustrated by New Orleans chefs' stubborn refusal to try new things, Dave heads to immigrant-rich Houston for a taste of spicey Viet-Cajun cuisine."
(209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, 504-525-2021): Once the kitchen realizes that Chang is in their dining room, out comes the shrimp remoulade, seafood over gumbo, crabmeat Yvonne, redfish with shrimp étouffée, and more. Don't even think about walking in the door of Galatoire's without a collared shirt and jacket on, gentlemen.
Three Legged Dog Tavern (400 Burgundy St., New Orleans, 504-412-8335): Open 24 hours, seven days a week, the bar servs a traditional crawfish boil seasoned with , two bottles of lemon juice, red pepper, chili pepper, salt, garlic pepper, and black pepper.
(11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, 281-988-8098): Hello Vietnamese Cajun crawfish! The seasoning is added after boiling, which keeps the flavor of the crawfish "really clean," says Chef Trong Nguyen.
(1100 Westheimer Rd., Houston, 713-528-9800): Some thoughts on finding international influences in new American cuisine and a peek at the Cha Ca style snapper, served with dill, peanuts, and rice noodles.
Cali Sandwich & Fast Food (2900 Travis St., Houston, 713-520-0710): An early promoter of banh mi in the 1980s, this is a favorite of Underbelly's Chris Shepherd.
(939 Behrman Hwy., Gretna, La., 504-301-1121): Serves blue crabs, crawfish, and gulf shrimp cooked in the traditional Louisiana way (boiled). "You know, I don't think they're ready for the fusion," says co-owner Georgette Dang. "Crawfish here is just a staple food here on its own."
Crayfish Master (Workers' Stadium N. Rd., Chaoyang Qu, Beijing, 010-51657733): Once considered an invasive species, crawfish are now a popular food in parts of China. At Crayfish Master, Chang and Chinese food scholar Fuchsia Dunlop eat stir-fried crawfish with chili, crawfish with Szechuan peppercorns, and crawfish with garlic.
(85 Hoàng Sa, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam): Chef Nikki Tran opened this Cajun restaurant in Ho Chi Minh and serves up Vietnamese gumbo and river prawns. "You have to be able to work with what you have," she says. She calls her cooking style "Viejun."
Nam Giao (6938 Wilcrest Dr., Houston, 281-568-4888): Specializing in Hue-style food, owner Ai Le tells Chang: "Food is the bridge that makes the general public understand the Vietnamese better. It's something from heart to heart."
Episode 5: BBQ
Description: "While Peter explores the many flavors and styles of U.S. barbecue, Dave samples mind-blowing Peking duck, yakitori, and Korean barbecue."
(955 S Vermont Ave. G, Los Angeles, 213-380-1717): Chang, David Choe, and Steven Yeun eat Korean barbecue and talk about whether mainstream America considers Korean barbecue barbecue. "This is modern-day eating," Yeun says. "People can customize what they want and it's interactive."
(Refshalevej 96, 1432 Copenhagen, 32-96-32-97): Redzepi hands Chang some blackcurrant wood and spruce wood to taste (spruce tastes like grapefruit!). "Barbecue to me just represents cooking something in embers and flavoring with smoke," Redzepi says.
Wang Pang Zi Donkey Burger (80 Gulou W. Ave., Xicheng District, Beijing): David Choe wants to try donkey meat at this local institution, but Chang does not.
Siji Minfu (32 Dengshikou W. St., DongDan, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing, 10-6513-5141): Originally an imperial palace food, Peking duck is now more commonly available—here, Chang dips a piece of the crispy skin in white sugar to taste the original fragrance without any of the added accoutrements.
(516 Main St, Leton, Texas, 979-773-4640): Tootsie the pitmaster is one of the few women in the business—her bbq, served on Saturdays only, draws lines of people before 8 a.m. "We never expected anything like that to happen from an old country girls' cooking," she says.
Yakitori Masakichi (5-2-8, Megurohoncho, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 3-3792-5216): Chef Masahiko Kodama grills Niigata-sourced chicken seasoned with Niigata salt over Japanese binchotan charcoal. "This is the best yakitori I've ever had," Chang says in an emotional moment.
Update 2/25/2018 11:15 p.m. — (32 N. 17th St., Murphysboro, IL, 618-684-3722): While Chang is traveling this episode, Meehan heads to Illinois to attend the at 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro where he samples styles of barbecue from the host restaurant, in Austin, in Asheville, and , , and in Nashville.
Episode 6: Fried Chicken
Description: "Dave learned the tricks to making Nashville hot chicken, scope out KFC's China menu and delves into the loaded history of soul food."
(multiple locations around Tokyo): Chang, Ansari, and Eric Wareheim pick up some snacks, including a Calpis drink and some curry fried chicken.
Sean Brock's house (not a restaurant): Brock makes Chang his signature fried chicken. "This one is a collection of all my favorite chickens I've ever had. This took about five years to develop before we served it," Brock says. "Because we're a southern restaurant, and if we serve fried chicken that sucks, you know how embarrassing that is?"
(624 Main St., Nashville, Tenn., 615-254-8015): The first time Chang ate at Bolton's, he had a bad trip on the hottest chicken. This time, owner Dollye Graham-Matthews offers Chang a more temperate, guided experience. "It's delicious but it hurts!" Chang says, while Brock is tearing up in the corner. Chang starts sweating. Cut to him standing in a parking lot swigging from a half gallon of milk.
(2-3-18 Jingumae, Shibuya Ku, Tokyo, the entrance of the restaurant on Gaiennishi-dori St., 3-3222-3978): Chang and Ansari stop by Den to try Chef Zaiu Hasegawa's riff on a KFC meal—it's delivered to the table in KFC-style boxes and features fried chicken stuffed with sticky rice seasoned with Japanese plum.
vs. KFC (multiple locations in Shanghai): Choe and Chang have a Dicos vs. KFC taste-off and agree that KFC China's Ghost Pepper Szechuan chicken strips "may be the best commercially-fried chicken."
(1100 Florida Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-265-1586): Chang sits down with a plate of dark meat pan-fried chicken and a side of mac and cheese. It's a serious learning moment—talking about fried chicken within the context of the history of slavery in the United States.
(810 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. NW, Atlanta, 404-525-9212): Opened in 1947 by Lucy Jackson, Busy Bee is an important black community restaurant in the region. Owner Tracy Gates explains that they brine the chicken for 12 hours before frying.
(2404 NE 65th St., Seattle, Wash., 206-556-2192): Not quite fried chicken, Chef Edouardo Jordan—a 2016 mkgallery Best New Chef—has a leg of duck, confit, deep fried, and servied with quinoa and duck liver mousse on the menu. Jordan's new restaurant, , only serves fried chicken on Sunday nights.
(Azabujuban 2-8-10 6F, Azabujuban, Minato 106-0045, Tokyo, 3-5765-2148): Chang eats hot chicken and waffles while talking with owners David Whitaker and Latonya Whitaker about the perception of fried chicken and American history abroad. "Whether the meaning is known or not, it's knowing that when people walk through these doors, what's most important is that they can taste the love every single time they taste. That's soul food."
OB Bear (3002 7th St., Los Angeles, 213-480-4910): Chang and actress Gillian Jacobs eat OB Bear's spatchcock fried chicken and Korean wings with hot and spicy sauce. "It's hard to invent something new, but somehow the Koreans invented a new type of fried chicken," Chang says.
(112 19th Ave. S., Nashville, and multiple locations, 615-678-4794): What started as a meat-and-three restaurant has turned into a national obsession. Chang asks co-owner Nick Bishop Jr. about how they plan to do right by the originators of their signature product. "We're going to do it right and we're going to be respectful of it," Bishop says.
(5600 Buford Hwy. NE, Atlanta, 770-455-0770): Shopping with Asha Gomez, whose restaurant serves food that originates from Kerala in India. Her fried chicken is brined in buttermilk and seasoned with mint, cilantro, and green chile. "What I put on a plate is a sum total of my life experience," she tells Chang. "Don't call my food fusion—I hate that word, it's the other f-word."
Episode 7: Fried Rice
Description: "Forget fortune cookies and General Tso's chicken: Secret menu items, local delicacies and a lobster volcano reveal the true range of Chinese cuisine."
(165 East Broadway, New York, NY, 212-477-1111): The team sit around a Chinese family-style meal to talk about fried rice and the state of Chinese food in America.
Ting Li Guan (South of Wanshou Hill, inside the Summer Palace, Beijing, 10-6288-1144): Starting from early days, Chang and Dunlop take a stab at Imperial Chinese cuisine—and we learn that Chang's least-favorite food is sea cucumber (he's also not a huge fan of deer tendon).
(28 Bowery, New York, NY, 212-349-0923): One of the New York Times' first reviews of a Chinese restaurant in the non-fine-dining category. Ruth Reichl talks through some complexities surrounding the growth of Chinese restaurants in the United States: "Why would a great Chinese chef come to America where everyone thinks Chinese food should be cheap?"
(123 Central Ave., Oak Ridge, TN, 865-482-3323): The owner, Chen P. Ren, hails from Chongqing in the Sichuan province, but the food New China Palace serves is pure American Chinese—cashew shrimp with snow peaas, General Tso's chicken.
Asia Kitchen (8511 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, 865-670-9858): Meanwhile, elsewhere in Knoxville, the owner's son at Asia Kitchen tells Chang that the restaurant's intestines dish is more popular with customers than its lo mein.
(28 Waverly Pl., San Francisco, Calif., 415-857-9688): "When I first thought of fried rice, I first thought of how my mom would make it," says Chef Brandon Jew. "There's some food that just isn't meant to be tweezered."
(518 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, Calif., 626-289-5998): Always remember to ask about the secret menu. Chang and writer Gillian Ferguson dine on snow crab, special fried rice, and a secret lobster preparation.
(Caesars Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, 877-346-4642): Chef Yu from Beijing is a specialist in northern Chinese food—hand-pulled noodles from the Shandong province, tomato and scrambled egg, and other regions' specialties, such as Szechuan fish. "I think the climate for acceptance for this type of food has never been higher," President of Caesars Palace Gary Selesner tells Chang.
(3322 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif., 323-665-5899): mkgallery 2016 Best New Chef Ken Yenbamroong opened Night + Market after running his parents' restaurant Talesai. "This is the stuff that honestly my parents would want to eat, too," he says.
(680 Silver Star Blvd., Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, 416-321-0250): The lobster tower here is, well, everything. Asked why he doesn't try to market to mainstream Canadians, owner Raymond Xie says: "I would like to stick to a recipe that works. You have to believe in yourself. Eventually, it will come through."
Episode 8: Stuffed
Description: "Time for the ultimate showdown: Italian stuffed pasta vs. Asian dumplings. Will xialongbao or tortellini carry the day?"
"Dave's my arch-nemesis and I'm looking forward to beating the shit outta him." — Mario Carbone
"We used to cook together at Cafe Boulud in 2003, and we've been enemies ever since." — Chang
(99 E. 52nd St., New York, NY, 212-374-9001): Carbone explains that the majority of stuffed pastas in Italy come from the north—tortellini, squid ink mezzaluna, scungilli—because there's more room to raise animals in the north. In New York, he adapts the recipes—for example, swapping in ground sausage meat for ground pork. "This is, like, me learning to cook in Italy and me growing up in Queens," he says.
(Via Stella, 22, 41121 Modena, Italy, 059-223912): "This is like ground zero for stuffed pasta," Chang says. Chef Massimo Bottura explains that the pasta fillings should comprise a reflection of the best products in a region. "It's a mini Chinese dumpling!" Chang exclaims when he sees the finished product.
(Via Luigi Albinelli, 13, 41100 Modena, 059-211218): Chang heads to the Mercato Albinelli with Bottura's sous chef Taka Kondo, where they eat sandwiches.
(418 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-977-3909): Quick pit-stop for a pan-fried crispy pancake.
(63 Runan St., Shanghai, 21-6733-7123): Quick stop for prawn dumplings and pork dumplings at this two-Michelin star restaurant.
(3-1-3, Higashi-ikebukuro, 2F Sunshine City World Import Mart, Toshima 170-0013, Tokyo, 3-5950-0765): This indoor theme park features lots of dumpling varieties—including fried cheese dumplings, which Chang tries and likes.
(22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, Calif., 415-685-4860): Behold: the foie gras xiaolongbao. Make sure the number of pleats in your xlb is always divisible by three. "The thing about xiaolongbao is that the dough is different from other dumplings—you need some elasticity and you also need strength."
(multiple locations): Over steam baskets filled with crab roe xlb and truffle mushroom xlb, Ali Wong makes a very good point, that you should be able to filter Yelp results by demographics: "What I'm trying to say is I want to know what percentage that gave it five stars are Asian," she says.
Wan Shou Zhai (Shan Yin Road 123, Hongkou, Shanghai, 136-0167-8832): Chang and restaurateur Gary Wang go to Wan Shou Zhai for its famous sheng jian bao—pan-fried soup dumplings wrapped in a yeast-risen dough. They proceed to eat all the fried dumplings.
(Via Belvedere, 7, 40121 Bologna, Italy, 051-220558): "We could not have Italian cuisine the way we have now had it not been for ingredients that came from other parts of the world," explains Glass Hostaria Chef Cristina Bowerman. They visit Le Sfogline in Bologna, where they specialize in tortellini—the ricotta tortelloni are shaped like a heart.
Ming Zhi We's home (Hebei province, China): Chang travels to the Hebei province to meet Ming Zhi We, who makes dumplings from scratch, even though they have no running water after 9 a.m. each day. All the ingredients—including spring onions, ginger, and garlic—come from her garden. "I just think when you make food this way, it's just gotta taste better," Chang says.