“Long before I met him, I was a fan of his writing, and his merciless wit. He’s bigger than food.” (Anthony Bourdain)
Eddie Huang is the 30-year-old proprietor of Baohaus – the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night – and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.
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 like a gremlin, 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, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie 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, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the 21st century. It’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.