Monday, March 25, 2013

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang

The title of this book, "Fresh Off the Boat" caught my eye while I was browsing through the shelves at the front of Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago. Call me weird but I'm currently in love with the term, fresh off the boat (FOB). If you are not sure what FOB stands for, it's a term used to refer to someone who just migrated to the United States from another country but have not yet assimiliated to the host nation's custom such as culture, language, and behavior. Another thing about the book that was eye-catching was the color of the cover, pink, which is my favorite color. Kudos to the author, Eddie Huang, for coming up with such an attractive cover

 Anyways, this book is a memoir written by a Taiwanese American named Eddie Huang who is the current proprietor of Baohaus, a Chinese restaurant that specializes in selling Taiwanese-style steamed buns such as xiao long bao, char siu bao (BBQ pork puns), and many more. Eddie grew up in America and was raised by a family of FOBs from Taiwan and China. Growing up, he was always trying to fit into the American culture. Although he was born and raised in America, he felt like he didn't really belong there because of the discrimination he faced from his peers. People tell him that his face will not get him anywhere in the States. However, despite these discriminations, he is able to prove to America that he does belong by burning his way into the American culture by doing the things that gave him a feeling of belonging: taking interest in football/basketball,  designing streetwear, and idolizing the rapper, Tupac. When he grew up, Eddie learned from his past and took into account the values his parents instilled in him about working hard and being capable. Therefore, he studied hard in school and earned his way into law school, where he received his bachelor's degree, making his father proud. However, he later found out that lawyer was not his thing after he realizes that Chinese food is his true passion. Thanks to the influence from his mom's cooking, his dad's restaurants and encouragement from various Food Network channels, Eddie has successfully opened his own restaurant with a combination of his love for hip-hop and food. The restaurant is called Baohaus; some of his famous dishes include pillowy steamed buns filled with a flavorful protein of choice, cilantro, crushed peanuts and Taiwanese red bean paste, and sweet bao fries. The menu also includes Jeremy Lin Bao! Sounds very yummy, eh? If you are interested in trying some of Eddie's signature steam buns, the place is currently located at 238 East 14th Street in East Village in New York CityCheck out the restaurant's website for more info:

Eddie writes a food blog and constantly posts videos on his website which is mostly about food and his identity. You can check out his blog at: 

 My thoughts on this book: I really enjoyed reading Eddie's memoir because I found him to be a really fascinating person. His experiences have proved that anyone can transform their life with hard work and education. Eddie also introduced me to various Taiwanese foods such as soup dumplings and also the Taiwanese Dan-Dan Mian which is a spicy noodle with peppers, onions, and pork. The writing style of this book is also very interesting because it's written in a hip-hop voice with a combination of Chinese. However, readers should be forewarned because of the street language that some may find awkward and hard to understand. Nevertheless, I really recommend "Fresh Off the Boat" and wish Eddie continued success in his restaurant, his book, and his blog. :)