Eddie Huang is the thirty 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
Funny, raw, and 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.
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