I was recently in New York City, and being what, these days, you might call a “foodie,” I made a point of stopping in at David Chang’s lauded Momofuku noodle bar. After a 90-minute(!) wait for a table, I can confidently report that the pork buns are indeed worth the hype, and the ramen is also very good.
But Chang, being the unstoppable force of nature he is, is not content to merely open hit restaurants. His latest venture is Lucky Peach, a full-scale magazine devoted to the pleasures of food, in all of its weird and wondrous forms. Produced by McSweeney’s and co-created by writer Peter Meehan and the production company behind Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations TV series (Bourdain himself is a frequent contributor), it’s unlike any other food mag out there.
Lucky Peach‘s first issue was devoted entirely to ramen, and its second was themed “The Sweet Spot” and covered everything from the perfect kimchi to Chang’s obsession with the movie Roadhouse. In between are delightful meditations on cooking duck the right way (by painter and bon-vivant Russel Chatham), a multi-part travelogue by Meehan and starring Chang, that takes them from Japan to Denmark to Kentucky bourbon country and a recipe for a mouthwatering-looking blackened bluefish sandwich with miso mayo.
Beyond the fact that the writing is good, the thing that strikes me most about Lucky Peach is the passion that obviously went into creating it. It comes out four times per year and has only a few scant ads for indie cookbooks; so it’s obviously a labor of love for those involved. The magazine industry being what it is these days, I hope there’s room for something as innovative and exciting as Lucky Peach to prosper.