In another feasting sequence, Chang is joined by American actor and comedian Danny McBride, who rather unexpectedly names the no-frills Australian chain Macelleria – specifically the Bondi outpost – as the purveyor of his favourite steak in the entire world. “It’s fast-food steak,” McBride explains.
So, with the might of Netflix and a ready-built network of employees from his Sydney restaurant Momofuku Seiobo at his disposal, Chang heads Down Under to try McBride’s favourite steak.
Dining with Chang as he taste-tests Macelleria’s cuts are Momofuku executive chef Paul Carmichael and restaurant manager Kylie Javier-Ashton. (Most of the locals Chang shares screen time with have mellifluous voices, but somehow their accents still evoke that famous Aussie episode of The Simpsons.)
Macelleria, which has four outposts in Victoria and two in NSW, is run by butcher-turned-restaurateur Peter Zaidan. Here’s how it works: you go the counter; pick your cut of meat,tell the staff how you want it cooked; then add sides. It’s well-priced, and Zaidan says a lot of his customers are regulars, including lots of families. Some even visit a few times a week.
Carmichael says he didn’t eat “proper proper” steak until he moved to the US from his native Barbados. And Javier-Ashton, who grew up in Sydney with her Filipino family, and Chang, who was raised in Virginia by Korean parents, both say steak was a rarity, usually eaten on special occasions.
The trio discuss steak as a status symbol, and whether premium cuts such as Wagyu are really that much better. They acknowledge that they live in a food-world bubble where eating expensive dishes is the norm, and that it’s not unfair for someone to want good meat on a Costco budget. They also question the sustainability of eating beef regularly – one of worst meats in terms of carbon emissions.