Chef Eddie Huang: Fresh Off The Boat

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Omnivore Books on Food
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A Memoir by Eddie Huang
A Spiegel & Grau hardcover, on sale January 29, 2013
***A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick***

One of the food world’s brightest and most provocative young stars, Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where people come to eat delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night. FRESH OFF THE BOAT is Eddie’s brutally honest, deeply reflective, and downright hilarious memoir.

You will not forget Eddie or his immigrant family as he shares their crazy, fascinating American story of assimilation and alienation, of the daily struggle for one kid to find his way through sports (Charles Barkley was his idol), music (he worshipped hip hop), friends (most of whom got him in trouble), writing (the best part of his college years), and last but not least, FOOD (rich, spicy, intense food, not the bland mac n cheese his white class mates ate that convinced him that perhaps he didn’t want to be white after all!).

Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the All-American boys who called him a chink, partied hard, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland.

After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer (he was so happy to be laid off), street fashion renegade (he moved a lot of sneakers), and stand-up comic (see ), he finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.

Funny, raw, moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, FRESH OFF THE BOAT recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century—it’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American. Finally, here is the best part of this press release! Eddie in his own words describing eating noodles with his Dad in Taiwan.

Pops had only told me about the noodles and the Old Man, but I had no idea they were that close. It was as if they were each carrying something for the other. A secret, a burden, a past, but I knew better than to ask. Within minutes, two bowls of noodles appeared for us. Huge melanine bowls with khaki noodles, steaming soup, and a gremolata-like mixture of crushed peanuts, pickled radish, and chopped scallions. Of course, my Pops put chili oil in it immediately, but I wanted to taste the broth: intense, deep, and mind numbing. It was one of those bites that makes you think maybe, just maybe, your taste buds carry a cognitive key that can open something in your mind. Like the first time I heard, Lauryn Hill’s voice scratch over “Killing Me Softly” I felt that I just had a mental breakthrough via sound; there has to be something like that with taste. It was then and there that I realized, you can tell a story without words, just soup. –from FRESH OFF THE BOAT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: EDDIE HUANG is the chef and proprietor of Baohaus restaurant in New York City. He's the host of his own series with Vice called "Fresh Off the Boat" that makes its debut in October of 2012. He's appeared on Vice's “Munchies” series, hosted a special called “Cheap Eats” on the Cooking Channel, appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s “24-Hour Layover” and appeared as a re-occuring commentator on Cooking Channel's "Unique Eats" series. He’s written for, the New York Observer, Grantland, and his own popular blog, “Fresh Off the Boat.” He resides in New York City.


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