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Hot 30: Chris Ying, Lucky Peach Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief

Chris Ying

Photo by Laura Flippen

It’s Indian summer in San Francisco, and temperatures are on the rise. As are the local luminaries in our annual Hot 20, er . . . Hot 30. That’s right. We were so impressed by the crop of talent and brains moving the needle this year—in fields as diverse as technology, music, education, sports, and arts—that we added 10 bright stars to our list.

Chris Ying never expected his two lives—one as a former line cook, the other as publisher at McSweeney’s—to cross-pollinate. But it turns out the universe had bigger plans. Last year, Ying, along with New York chef David Chang and writer Peter Meehan, launched the quarterly food journal Lucky Peach to explosive fanfare, with more than 100,000 copies in circulation. With a unique perspective towards food from the industry’s biggest players, Lucky Peach is innovative in its exploration of themes via essays, recipes, and art, often heralding some of San Francisco’s best (the upcoming “Chinatown” issue will touch on Bay Area enclaves). Ying is also parlaying his talents into cookbooks: He designed and edited Anthony Myint’s debut book (Mission Street Food) and is now working on Mission Chinese Food’s first cookbook. Also, look for his upcoming cookbook for Japanese noodle phenom Ivan Ramen.

Go-to for 
late-night eats:
I’ve been a diehard Taqueria Cancún loyalist, but recently I’ve been going to YakiniQ for all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue. I’m a monster, I know.

Favorite cuisine:
I’ll eat Chinese food—good or bad—every day. I steadily rotate through Spices!, Beijing Restaurant, Koi Palace and, of course, my boys at Mission Chinese Food.

Best recent dish:
Mackerel nigiri with white kombu at Ino Sushi: Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food) will kill me for blowing up his spot, but I think Ino-san is the best sushi chef in the city.

Hotspots to try:
Every chef loves Evan Rich and his Rich Table. Barnyard in LA—I miss Jeremy Fox’s cooking desperately. Martin Yan teaming up with the Koi Palace people for M.Y. China tickles me in all sorts of nostalgic ways.

Ideal day off:
I’d hit Swan Oyster Depot for breakfast, surf in Bolinas, and then head inland for dinner at El Molino Central in Sonoma.

Favorite bar:
I drink almost exclusively in and around the Japantown Center Mall these days. There are some deeply hidden gems to be found.

This article was published in 7x7's October issue. Click here to subscribe.