David Chang Says That Doing Vegetarian Food Would be a “Pandora’s Box”


David Chang appeared on Leonard Lopate earlier this afternoon to plug his new cookbook, which hit bookshelves last week. In between talking about recipes (all of the ingredients in the book, Chang said, could be found in Chinatown), plugging the Brooklyn Star, and wondering why Americans are happy to pay $14 for a bowl of pasta but not a bowl of ramen, Chang shed a bit of light on the Momofuku stance on vegetarians. When Momofuku Noodle Bar first opened, he recalled, there were a few vegetarian dishes on the menu, but a customer almost sued because she’d eaten a meat broth after assuming it was vegetarian. So to avoid any further confusion — not to mention lawsuits — Chang took the menu’s one meat-free option, ginger scallion noodles, off the menu. And though he cooked a vegetarian dinner at the James Beard House, he’s not planning to become more vegetarian friendly anytime soon: “I love vegetables,” he said. “But if I open that door, I think it’s going to be a Pandora’s box for us.”