David Chang is many things: chef, restaurateur, TV personality, podcaster, purveyor of packaged chili oil and noodles. Now, he’s a Costco shopper, too.
The famous chef confessed his newfound membership to the popular warehouse club during this week’s episode of his podcast, The Dave Chang Show. After only a few visits, he already has a lot of opinions.
“It’s a little bit like Castle Anthrax,” Chang said of Costco, referring to the ridiculous house of temptation from the 1975 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “You got to have an idea, and once you hit it, you gotta go…because the next thing you know, I got a fucking 60-inch [TV].”
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Chang is a big fan of Costco’s prime meats, especially the prices. “I bought a brisket for $49,” he noted. “There should be a 1—it should be a $149. If you bought that at Whole Foods, it would be 150 bucks.”
He also made good use of Costco’s “giant tub” of peeled garlic, puréeing and freezing most of it before the bulk buy goes bad. “I pulled my first real Korean mom move of my life,” he said. “Shout-out to my late mom…All Korean moms do this.”
On the flip side, Chang is not a fan of the warehouse club’s lack of shopping bags. “That’s the equivalent of going to a restaurant with no silverware,” he said. And he sounded skittish about bulk buying in general, describing his contemplation about buying 100 slices of American cheese as a matter of product shelf life versus available refrigerator space: “I sat there in front of the refrigerator door looking at it, to the point where I was looking at myself because of the reflection.”
But the chef reserved his harshest criticism for one of Costco’s most cherished items: the hallowed rotisserie chicken for $4.99. “I got a hot take—I think the Costco chicken is the worst rotisserie chicken,” he said. “They’re not good. They’re not seasoned.” He went on to explain, “The reason why it’s important to have it properly seasoned is, you might eat it the next day cold—and it’s gotta taste good cold. And there’s something about all the nitrates and all the crap they pump into that chicken that makes that chicken breast even more disgusting the next day when it’s cold… It’s inedible. It really is.”
Chang conceded that the chicken’s ultra-low price makes it an attractive buy, especially for certain people. “If I was like a weightlifter on Atkins [diet] then I would just be buying that non-stop,” he said.
The chef also took issue with other Costco poultry products. “I just wanted one whole chicken, I had to get two,” he said, noting that the pair of birds cost about $25, roughly the same as a single chicken at the typical supermarket. The problem is the packaging, he said: “When I got home, I realized they were packaged in one giant package together.”
Originally planning to cook one and freeze the other, Chang said he considered the logistics and clean-up involved—”once you pop open that plastic it’s going to be a geyser of chicken juice all over the place”—ultimately deciding to freeze both.
“You know what’s going to happen,” he said. “This is when I know I’m turning into my mom. I will buy a fresh chicken before I use those two frozen chickens.“
He added, “This is a dilemma, and this is why, as a developed country, we’re all going to perish into hell.”
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