Chang has written that the name "Momofuku" is "an indirect nod" to Momofuku Ando, the Taiwanese-Japanese inventor of instant ramen. Chang has suggested it is not an accident that he chose a word that sounds similar to the curse word "motherfucker".
With experience in restaurants in New York City, Chef David Chang opened up his first restaurant in 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was influenced by his time spent working in Japan and visiting ramen shops. After about a year of trials, Noodle Bar took off as a success when the chefs began cooking what they felt like — more adventurous dishes with better ingredients. Growing, Noodle Bar eventually moved up the street and Momofuku Ko took over the space.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar opened after Noodle Bar and originally had the concept of an Asian style burrito bar (ssam is Korean for wrap). After experiencing troubles, Chang and his cohorts decided to change the style of the menu, away from the burrito-centered cuisine. This change led Ssäm Bar to success, as it received two stars (eventually three) from The New York Times.
The third restaurant to open was Momofuku Ko. Chang describes the idea behind Ko as a, “cook-centric restaurant with just a few stools, a collaborative kitchen, and a constantly changing menu.” Má Pêche was the fourth restaurant to open and the first to open outside of the East Village neighborhood.
Momofuku Seiōbo in October 2011 was the first restaurant to open outside of the U.S. In January 2012, Momofuku opened the cocktail bar Booker & Dax in the back of Ssäm Bar in collaboration with Dave Arnold. Momofuku Toronto followed in 2012 alongside the opening of the Shangri-La Hotel. Fuku, a chicken sandwich restaurant, opened in the original Noodle Bar location in June 2015.