A couple years ago Eddie Huang, the 30-year-old restauranteur, author and host (former gigs: lawyer, weed dealer, standup comedian) moved BaoHaus, the New York Taiwanese spot he co-owns with his youngest brother Evan. Now in the East Village, it’s just down the street from Stuy-Town, the tree-lined, private “white people projects” where Eddie and Evan share a one-bedroom apartment. Tightly crammed with sneakers and books, their place also serves as an office for BaoHaus and Eddie’s side hustles, notably Fresh Off the Boat, the new book that shares a name with his blog and Vice web series.
Huang’s memoir is a journey of his Orlando childhood’s small triumphs and big falls, culminating happily with the 2008 election of Obama and successful opening of BaoHaus. Written in Huang’s voice, cheerfully crass and warmly earnest, it’s a funny book that’s perhaps best when it’s sad—detailing scenes of abuse at the hands of his mom, a razor-tongued housewife, and dad, a street boss turned steakhouse-owning karaoke enthusiast. We caught Huang at home in between a string of book tour dates, and he talked about fridge essentials, New York’s recognition of smart weirdos and what makes his home, in its own way, traditionally Chinese.