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Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  6,909 Ratings  ·  1,010 Reviews
“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 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 contro
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Spiegel & Grau
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Brad Graham No. If it did I would LOVE the show. It'd also have to be on HBO, and would probably win some awards.

Community Reviews

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Eveline Chao
Mar 24, 2013 Eveline Chao rated it liked it
Emotional and brashly told memoir of Eddie Huang's childhood, love of food, and exploration of being Asian-American.

Overall, this was a really winning, likable book. Huang is just so earnest and genuine and willing to be emotionally vulnerable in the things he says and the way he says them. It's hard not to come out liking anyone who puts their heart on their sleeve to the extent he does.

The author writes in a kind of boastful, over-the-top tone and for me personally the braggadociousness was
...more
karen
Feb 06, 2013 karen marked it as ceci-n-est-ce-pas-un-compte-rendu
 photo boat_zps18ad751f.jpg

sometimes it is fun to work at barnes and noble!!
sometimes.
sometimes.
Pete Wung
Dec 18, 2012 Pete Wung rated it it was amazing
This book isn't for everyone. I thought it wasn't for me when I first started reading it.

Eddie Huang is the owner of Baohaus, a NYC eatery that is one of the hottest places in town. This is his autobiography, the story of his evolution from a confused kids who was fresh off the boat to an entrepreneur and a food celebrity. I really like thisi book because his life experience runs parallel to mine in many ways.

There are difference though, and even though Eddie speaks from a place that is near and
...more
A B
This book is trash. It's a true disaster from the front cover to the last page. Eddie Huang spends 250+ pages spewing hatred about America and how much he hates "whiteness" (what he perceives as the culture of Caucasian Americans) to the point that he discusses how annoyed he was to see outward signs of patriotism post 9/11. In fact, from his own words, it seems like those same Americans he hates were nothing but nice to him. He is prejudiced against them for not knowing the intricacies of Chine ...more
Carlo
Feb 24, 2013 Carlo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny, favorites
Loved this shit. As a 1.5 generation immigrant, Wu Tang fan and food culture lover, this book hits extremely close to home. As a contrast, I love Steve Jobs' work, but I could not relate to his origin story and though interesting, I kind of just put the book down and never came back to it. I was hooked on Fresh Off the Boat cover to cover, from the funny Wu Tang references, to the heartfelt love/hate with his family, to ripping on Asian fusion because it doesn't respect the culture, I fucking lo ...more
Jason
Jun 19, 2014 Jason rated it it was ok
Huang did life his way. That's what he wants you to know. He wants you to know he liked Obama before it was cool. He wants you to know all the times he was bullied or edged out of a job because of his Taiwanese heritage. He wants you to know about the drugs he sold, people he assaulted, basically what a badass he is. Oh yeah, and he wants you to know about his mad culinary skills. He managed to write a memoir where he is always the victim turned hero, and while it's entertaining at times to read ...more
Jack Cheng
So, I think I hate Eddie Huang. He's obnoxious, writes in this ghetto speak -- "Cot damn, son! Man up and just write 'Goddamn'! You scared of the divine or some shit?"-- and brags first about what a bad, delinquent kid he is, and then about what a brilliant mind he has, pulling down As and starting businesses. He's also too young to write a memoir -- if you're giving props to your college professors for introducing you to cultural studies, you're too young to write a memoir. The worst part of th ...more
Limeminearia
Aug 10, 2014 Limeminearia rated it did not like it
Like spending hours listening to the most annoying kid in your pre-algebra class boasting about things like shoplifting hip-hop CDs at Best Buy to bring back to his mansion and "wilding" at parties ("I was toe up!") What a dick. If you like bros who call all women "shawties" and all men "Son" you will likely find this book to be hilarious. "Hilarious" is also the term the author uses to describe his friend opening fire at a frat party. I call bullshit on this book.
Vanessa
Feb 18, 2013 Vanessa rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the heck out of this. It's messy and imperfect and definitely shows the signs of being a memoir written by a relatively young person (which is to say, some parts seem to reflect more, uh, actual reflection than others), but overall, I can't resist a story with this much brashness and heart and food and humor and working through your own pain and identity and questionable choices. I think the section about his childhood was my favorite, because he does a lot more showing than telling ab ...more
Emi Bevacqua
Nov 28, 2013 Emi Bevacqua rated it it was ok
Eesh, I found this Eddie Huang guy to be immature, rude, violent and smug. I heard him interviewed on NPR and thought I'd like his book but now that I've read it, I just credit that NPR interviewer. If you don't have the same background and interests as Huang it's hard to understand him; I don't have a background in hip hop and ebonics, and I'm not all that into food. I'm not sure if he's OCD, but he sounds to me like he expects the rest of the world to be as obsessed with his obsessions as he i ...more
Derek Barnes
Apr 24, 2013 Derek Barnes rated it liked it
Anthony Bourdain calls Fresh Off the Boat 'a serious piece of work -- and an important one.' Trust me when I tell you that it's neither. If you're looking for literature, keep looking. It's mildly entertaining, however, and occasionally provocative. Written entirely in inner-city slang, Huang, with a weirdly self-aware irony, spends most of the book accusing non-Asians who dare cook Asian food of co-opting the culture while talking about how the NBA, Nike Air Jordans, and hip-hop music are the d ...more
Ye Jin
Apr 01, 2013 Ye Jin rated it it was ok
I've never watched his show, but I have a sense of the type of celebrity chef Eddie Huang portrays on TV. I'm lying when I say I read this book because I just couldn't finish it. His story is funny, interesting at times, but the profanity and the constant talk about rap music and sports were very spastic and distracting. He'd throw in after bleep bleeping bleep,something to the effect of,"i noticed the essence of lemongrass with the mouthfeel of an oyster" talking from the point of view of a 9 y ...more
Peter
Feb 07, 2013 Peter rated it it was ok
I appreciate that Eddie tried to be himself and sound personable to his readers. However, I think that it's hard for me to relate to him and to understand his arguments. To me, he wants to be seen as son of working class immigrant parents, who appreciates his heritage, and "keeps it real". But, he pretty much contradicts himself consistently. He openly talks about how much he hates his parents, how he acted like a huge asshole growing up (which gives him, his family, and his heritage a bad rap), ...more
Tim Chang
Sep 12, 2015 Tim Chang rated it did not like it
I think I got dumber after reading this book. Huang writes about his life of growing up as an Asian American in the 90s who loves hip-hop, basketball, and getting into trouble. He's really good at criticizing and complaining about everything that's wrong with America, White people, and Asian Americans that don't think or act like him. I kept reading the book in hopes that he would offer possible solutions or resolutions to the problems and issues he pointed out. Instead, what I got was his BaoHa ...more
Amar Pai
Feb 07, 2014 Amar Pai rated it it was ok
This book reminds me of L. A. Son , by Roy Choi (of Korean taco truck fame). Both memoirs feature tormented Asian-American juvenile delinquents who turn out to be genius chefs. But unlike L.A. Son, which doubled as a lavishly illustrated cook book, Fresh off the Boat is just straight up text. The depiction of food isn't nearly as as vivid. Also, Choi is much more of a bad ass than Huang, yet he doesn't try as hard to come off like one. Huang's gangsta bravado stretches kind of thin after a whil ...more
Steve
Jan 18, 2015 Steve rated it did not like it
Fresh off the Boat is foodie and pop culture sensation Eddie Huang's memoir, told with an unceasing barrage of street lingo, rap lyrics, and other empty phrases that grew tiresome after a few chapters. It quickly became evident that I wasn't the target audience for Huang's uber-street life story. Still, it did stretch credulity at times. Despite the author's attempts to paint himself as some outcast, his is essentially a middle-class success story, set to an 80s-90s hip hop soundtrack, and overf ...more
Everyday eBook
Feb 05, 2013 Everyday eBook rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Everyday by: Joe Muscolino
While inspiration often comes from within, Eddie Huang's new memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, reminds us that it also comes in the form of a chubby Taiwanese high schooler from Florida, hell-bent on proving his mettle. Before the famed restaurateur and vocal vlogger for VICE magazine made it big, he was a "midget Chinaman" standing five-foot-four on a football field, facing down a hulking defensive end named Kwame.

Whenever "hike!" was called, young Eddie got pummeled. But Huang explains how each day
...more
Kim Flowers
Oct 11, 2012 Kim Flowers rated it it was amazing
As I mentioned in an earlier comment, this is the first memoir I've read by someone my own age. I'm not sure I was going on the intended journey sometimes because I ended up reliving some of my own childhood through the pop culture mentioned: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Jordan and Barkley and Shaq! Super Nintendo and WWF! I knew the author of this book was close to my age well before it was officially confirmed in the book that he was born one year after me.

So that was my first mind-blowing e
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Eddie Huang's memoir of life with his family as he experiences American culture and defies stereotypes is comedic, inspirational and an honest look at a life of crossing cultural barriers and about building a life for yourself and being whoever you want to be. Huang's got a great sense of the humor genre and if you like memoirs as well, this is definite a book you should read.
Ana Rînceanu
Three hour passed by so fast and this book was done. Upside: it was earnest, interesting, informative and really funny. Downside: I am now really, really hungry for food, my own culture and life!

P.S: those may not be so bad after all...
quinnster
May 19, 2015 quinnster rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
I had started reading/listening to Eddie Huang's book awhile back in my quest to find audiobooks that kept me interested. It couldn't really hold my attention and I found Huang's style slightly irritating so I just let the book expire. After watching the sitcom Fresh Off The Boat on ABC I decided to give it another try. I had read about the controversy about the show. How Huang has said that the show is so far removed from his life that he doesn't even watch it and what a piece of garbage it is, ...more
Beth
Being from the northern plains (fly-over country to those from the coasts), I was not aware of Eddie Huang or his Baohous restaurant prior to reading his memoir. Now I wish I lived closer to New York City so that I could taste a sample of his signature bao. I did know what they were (Taiwanese/Chinese meat in a bun) before reading the book, and his sound scrumptious.

Eddie Huang is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who struggled as many do to acclimatize and succeed in the United States. His father
...more
Christine
Apr 06, 2013 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, chinese, reviewed
So, growing up, my proper Asian parents wouldn't have let me anywhere near a troublemaker like Eddie Huang. Heck, back then, I wouldn't have wanted to go near an Eddie Huang either. After all, between the ages of nine and twenty-two, I was doing my best to fit into the good Chinese kid stereotype that Huang eviscerates. I only sort-of succeeded in being the model minority, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I really liked this book. Hip hop? Street fights? An Asian dad PROUD his kid got arr ...more
Steph
Mar 02, 2016 Steph rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-in-2016
"Cot damn", "shawties", hating "whiteness", smoking weed, "hip hop culture", sneakers, real Chinese food... there you have it, you are now caught up on this book without having to read the 272 pages of it.

Every book has an audience, and this book was not made for me. I picked up this book because I think the TV show is hilarious and I wanted to see the full story behind it. This book and the TV show are completely different entities, and makes me love the TV show more. I'm glad they did not mak
...more
Marisa
Oct 12, 2012 Marisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This is the first memoir I've read written by someone from my generation.I'm not sure if that's why I liked it so much, or if it was just fun to read. Whatever. I thought it was fantastic.
I'm not even sure why, but there's something about all those crazy stories mixed in with the parts about the food (lots of parts about food), that made this book really easy to read. It also made me hungry. I ate a lot of chinese food while reading this book, actually. I really hope Eddie Huang writes more book
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This isn't a chef memoir, let me just say that right off the bat. Eddie Huang is so much more than a food person. This is the story of how a child born to Taiwanese immigrants makes a life for himself. It is a coming of age story more than anything else. Eddie is only 30, and has seen one restaurant fail and one be an immediate hit. He has worked as a furniture salesman, a drug dealer, a lawyer, and a stand-up comic.

I enjoyed the story, especially read by the author himself. I didn't always ide
...more
Sherri F.
Memoirs are always hard to rate for me & this one is no exception. Some I liked & some I didn't. It's no literary masterpiece and Eddie did not and would not have any intention of doing so b/c it's his way or the highway, as with pretty much everything in his life. This book is probably geared to and more appreciated by a younger reader (which I am not). Also, if readers look at the above cover (pink cover w/Eddie's family & "Now A Series on ABC" on) and watched some or all of the ep ...more
HaQuyen
May 21, 2015 HaQuyen rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read thus far this year. A number of authors of color I've read recently speak of the constant balancing act and negotiation of their identities both within their race and in (white) mainstream America overall - Huang tackles this directly, fearlessly, unapologetically. If ever there was a voice against monolithic stereotypes of race and culture, it's his.

Even though I have next to no knowledge of hip-hop culture, grew up very differently (in a more "model-minority" fa
...more
Ty Wilson
Jan 25, 2013 Ty Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, memoir
I had never heard of Eddie Huang before I won this book in a First Reads giveaway. Now I feel like I know him better than I know many of my friends, and I have to admire the way his very quick mind works. His has been a life vastly different from my own, that of a hip hop loving, Chinese-American food connoisseur and chef. It was amazing to listen, and although the book wasn't an audio book I could still hear his voice in ever line, as he told the tale of his life from childhood to his place as ...more
Charissalee
May 09, 2013 Charissalee rated it really liked it
Because I am an asshole, while Eddie Huang is laying his heart and history bare, all I can think about is how much I suck because dude was born two days after me and has already graduated law school, had and quit a career as a lawyer, caught a felony, rediscovered his roots in Taiwan, started and folded a streetwear company, opened a Manhattan restaurant that gets international press, had TWO TV shows [one of which I enviously watch], oh, and wrote a book? Probably a bunch of other shit too, but ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang 1 14 Nov 11, 2015 12:10AM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir 1 22 Feb 20, 2015 12:41PM  
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Huang was born in 1982 in Washington, D.C. to immigrant parents from Taiwan. He was raised in Orlando, Florida, where his father managed a successful group of steak and seafood restaurants. Huang identified with African-American culture, especially hip-hop, at a young age. He attended The University of Pittsburgh, Rollins College and graduated with a B.A. He earned a J.D. from Cardozo School of La ...more
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“To this day, I wake up at times, look in the mirror, and just stare, obsessed with the idea that the person I am in my head is something entirely different than what everyone else sees. That the way I look will prevent me from doing the things I want; that there really are sneetches with stars and I’m not one of them. I touch my face, I feel my skin, I check my color every day, and I swear it all feels right. But then someone says something and that sense of security and identity is gone before I know it.” 17 likes
“People ask me what my greatest strengths are and I say perspective. The best way to get that is to meet people that are polar opposites; you learn the most from them. There are pieces of you that are inherently yours, but everything else is a collection of the things you’ve seen and the people you’ve met.” 15 likes
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