The Kid-Favorite Food That Transcends Cuisine, According To David Chang

When it comes to kids and food, the only absolute is that they will probably tell you what they don't want to eat. Kids can be picky, so much so that David Chang decided to focus on the foods children like to eat on his show "Ugly Delicious." During production, he had a revelation. While his findings aren't necessarily scientific, Chang did prove a universal theory long held by many parents that he shared with Stephen Colbert.

During an appearance on Colbert's show, Chang was asked by the host, "What do children have in common?" Chang's answer revealed what most every parent and kid at heart knows: Kids just want to eat chicken nuggets. Colbert quickly agreed, noting that every culture has chickens and something to fry them in.

It's hard not to get sentimental and nostalgic about this childhood favorite — and for good reason. Chang contends that children and adults are not only united in their love for eating this food but also the fact that no one really wants to know what's in that chicken nugget. The bottom line is processed and pressed chicken is good. No other knowledge is needed. Except, what is it about this small, golden fried disk of poultry that keeps people satiated?

Texture and smell

It is well-known the founder of Momofuku is a fan of all things chicken, including chicken nuggets. Chang famously quipped, "I love chicken. I love chicken products: fried chicken, roasted chicken, chicken nuggets – whatever." At his eatery, Chang even serves up a grown-up chicken nugget and caviar plate that looks delish. But what is it about the chicken nugget that makes kids and adults around the world love it with such resounding affection?

A feeding therapist shared with Thrive Little the answer is not that complicated. Kids love to eat with their hands, and chicken nuggets are one of the easiest on-the-go handheld foods you can find. But the food therapist also contends that because they are so highly processed, chicken nuggets are easy to chew and don't cause texture issues for young palates that might be sensitive to such things. These little pieces of fried perfection also do not give off a strong smell nor offer a lot of competing flavors when you sink your teeth into them — which is also appealing to young kids.