Confessions of a Travel Snob

Momofuku’s David Chang reveals the benefits of travelling in first class.

And the food! I was in a fancy Qantas lounge in Sydney that offered a menu by Neil Perry, who is possibly Australia’s most famous chef. I thought, Why not? And it wasn’t just good for airport food—I wanted to push my way into the kitchen and see if there was a full brigade back there, with chef Perry standing over them yelling at them.

But the best airport eating is to be had in Japan Airlines’ spot in Narita International Airport—also probably the best lounge I’ve ever disgraced the inside of. Hell, the food in Narita’s food courts is better than it is at 90% of Japanese restaurants in the States, but the lounge food is especially worth seeking out.

And the amenities: I showered there once when I was traveling through (not even to) Japan, and realized that I have stayed in hotels boasting constellations of stars that were less comfortable and luxurious than that airport lounge. I also learned never to underestimate the restorative power of a shower while traveling.

It was a practical revelation, but also a sad one: I’ve become a travel snob. All the things I thought I’d one day be a snob about—transcendental authors, sports history, obscure rock ‘n’ roll records—and here I am, a pampered jet-setter.

It’s even sadder that I still look like a bum—frayed black Converse sneakers, bloodshot eyes, a tattered gym bag of belongings strapped to me—and act like a cook.


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