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The ‘Ugly Delicious’ Squad Embarks on a Dumpling Odyssey in ‘Stuffed’

Recapping episode eight of Netflix’s food show

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Italian stuffed pasta and Asian dumplings face off in the season finale of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious. To lay out the argument for what constitutes a dumpling — and more importantly, which is the superior food — Momofuku head honcho David Chang sets up a mock debate with his friend, chef Mario Carbone, moderated by actor Nick Kroll. The friends engage in quite a bit of trash talking as they lay down their arguments for their respective pouches of dough, though in reality, both have respect for the opposing side.

The similarities and differences between the two styles of cuisine are juxtaposed throughout the at-times hectic episode. On the Italian side, the Ugly Delicious gang visits Carbone’s eponymous restaurant in Manhattan and his new endeavor the Grill. The squad then hits up Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, where the chef also helps teach a life skills course in tortellini-making to young adults with special needs. Chang and Glass Hostaria chef Cristina Bowerman (who rocks fabulous pink hair) also learn some tortellini history from the women behind Le Sfogline in Bologna.


Chang, meanwhile, bounces from China to Toronto to Japan to San Francisco and Glendale, California, in pursuit of various renditions of Asian dumplings. During his travels he delves into the origins and various iterations of soup dumplings, particularly the style popularized by Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung. Along the way, he gains an appreciation for traditional dumplings with help from a dumpling expert from the Hebei Province in China (she doesn’t approve of his technique), and tries and fails to make wonton tortellini for Bottura’s Japanese sous chef Taka Kondo.

Sidekicks and special guests

• Mario Carbone, chef and partner in Major Food Group
• Nick Kroll, actor/writer/producer
• Peter Meehan, former editor and co-founder of Lucky Peach
• Massimo Bottura, chef at Osteria Francescana
• Alan Yang, co-creator of Master of None
• Kenneth Boon, owner of Canton 8
• Corey Lee, chef/co-owner of Benu
• Ali Wong, comedian
• Aaron Yang, co-owner of Din Tai Fung
• Gary Wang, Shanghai-based DJ and restaurateur
• Walter Green, former art director for Lucky Peach
• Cristina Bowerman, chef at Glass Hostaria in Rome
• Daniela Zappoli, co-owner of Le Sfogline
• Ming Zin Wei, dumpling expert in Hebei Province, China
• Taka Kondo, sous chef at Osteria Francescana

Restaurants and dishes featured in the episode

The Grill (New York, New York)
What they eat: squid ink mezzaluna, scungilli shells, tortellini al ragu

Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
What they eat: tortellini

Asian Legend (Toronto, Canada)
What they eat: soup dumplings and other assorted dim sum

Canton 8 (Shanghai, China)
What they eat: dim sum including prawn dumplings and pork dumplings

Benu (San Francisco, California)
What they eat: foie gras soup dumplings

Din Tai Fung (Glendale, California)
What they eat: soup dumplings

051 Osteria/051 Zerocinquantuno (Bologna, Italy)
What they drink: espresso

Le Sfogline (Bologna, Italy)
What they eat: tortellini

Carbone (New York, New York)
What they eat: tortellini al ragu, scungilli shells

The best lines

“Dave is my arch nemesis and I look forward to beating the shit out of him.” — Mario Carbone

“I’m a real handsy pervert when it comes to dumplings.” — Ali Wong on dumplings

“When I’m making dumplings or eating dumplings I’m never thinking about the quality of the ingredients.” — David Chang on how he thinks about Asian dumplings versus Italian stuffed pasta

“It’s like Dave Chang — not for everyone.” — Carbone on his squid ink ravioli

“These are wontons! It’s a mini Chinese dumpling. It’s not a tortellini.” — Chang on tortellini

“That little jelly jizz that’s supposed to squirt in your mouth, that’s so crucial.” — Ali Wong on soup dumplings

“It’s delicious. What a surprise.” — Chang on the tortellini in Osteria Francescana

“It’s so unfortunate that I’m not going to be able to make it to Italy for this trip. Some chefs have to cook.” — Carbone, on not accompanying Chang to visit Massimo Bottura in Italy

Click here for Eater’s complete guide to Ugly Delicious

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