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Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir
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Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  3,416 ratings  ·  604 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 (first published January 1st 2013)
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Hadassah No. The book is a bit more dark while still being funny from time to time.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
Feb 07, 2013 karen marked it as reviewed-for-fun
 photo boat_zps18ad751f.jpg

sometimes it is fun to work at barnes and noble!!
sometimes.
sometimes.
...more
Eveline Chao
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
Pete Wung
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
Carlo
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
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
Vanessa
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
Ye Jin
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
Derek Barnes
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
Emi Bevacqua
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
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
Amar Pai
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
Everyday eBook
Feb 05, 2013 Everyday eBook rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Christine
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
Jason
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
Kari Ramirez
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
Limeminearia
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.
Steve
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
Peter
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
Kim Flowers
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
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
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
Ty Wilson
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
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
Ellenh
I received Fresh Off The Boat, by Eddie Huang as an advance Readers Addition from Librarything. It is a raw memoir, foodie review, immigrant, abusive family story, and I'm not sure what else. A very different book for me, the hip hop language was really difficult for this 50 something year old to understand, and he came across as crude and angry with us much of the time, I see where the book description comes off calling him controversial. Not that we shouldn't be brought to task for our racism ...more
Angelee Field
I like Eddie Huang's series on Vice and I like this book, perhaps mostly because I related with the Asian-American issues and themes that he puts forth. Anyone who grew up first-gen in an immigrant household will know what he's talking about. I found this to be a refreshing take on the perceptions of Asian Americans and the American dream filled with pop culture and hip hop references that I personally enjoyed. Some people get down on him for cursing too much, but it's definitely not obscene and ...more
Agathafrye
I have a crush on Eddie Huang in all of his flawed, passionate, aggro stoner foodie hip-hop loving glory. This is more a coming of age story about a Chinese American growing up with a fucked up family in Florida than it is a food memoir, but there was enough of both of these to satisfy me plus a lot of insightful commentary about race and class in the U.S. I feel like this book helped me to understand my pushing-thirty nephews better, too.
Ngan
This memoir was funny, entertaining, and had plenty of shock value. It was also poignant, thoughtful, and refreshingly straightforward and honest about issues such as race, culture, and money. Huang doesn't beat around the bush about his failures, his wild and at times criminal past, the racial stereotypes he was subjected to, as well as the stereotypes about other races and economic classes he passed on. Though Huang was born in the US and grew up in Orlando, he seemed to always straddle and cl ...more
Ruel
Eddie Huang's brash, in-your-face memoir is nothing like the show that was inspired by it. Yes, his life's story is full of funny moments, but they're nothing that would ever be aired by a Disney-owned corporation. Not unless Mickey and the gang are okay with underage drinking, smoking, hustling, and other unsavory things that some kids do in real life.

The first half of the book was a bit tiresome, with page after page of Eddie being the bad boy. Maybe it was to establish his "street cred," but
...more
Joe Vargas

I give this book four stars

If you like funny books this book is for you. This book is called FRESH OFF THE BOAT its hilarious. this is some real funny super dope freshness very entertaining to read. It will make you laugh out loud. I really really enjoyed this book Eddie gave us insight in his life in a humorous way to share his life. This book had me bawling he drops a lot of f bombs on you. the tone of the book is humorous.

This book was about Eddie Huang and how his parents are FOBS ( FRESH O
...more
Christine
Fresh Off the Boat was refreshing. It's rare to read a book featuring a Taiwanese American as the main character, and even though I felt like I couldn't completely relate to him in terms of his experiences (picking fights, growing up in hiphop culture, etc.) and his gender, I still enjoyed the book very much. I related to it in terms of some of the racial problems he's experienced and the identity conflict he faces as a Taiwanese American, as someone who loves food and feels like they cannot ful ...more
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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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"By adoption, stupid!" Undercover Brother

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“I think my mom is manic, but Chinese people don't believe in psychologists. We just drink more tea when things go bad. Sometimes I agree; I think we're all over diagnosed.” 10 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.” 8 likes
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