There is something inherently presumptuous about writing a memoir at age 30.
But Eddie Huang is not one to stay silent when he has something to say. Huang, who broke onto the food scene three years ago by slinging baos from a tiny Lower East Side storefront, has become a cultural referee who won't call the game according to the rules.
He has waged Twitter wars against celebrity chefs and engaged in debates about ethnic food and those who cook it. He will call bullshit on anyone, including himself.
His voice--merciless, expletive-ridden, engaged--is an important one within an industry that has only recently become a mainstream cultural movement. And his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat ($15), offers insight into that voice.
The book, which tracks Huang's experiences from early childhood through the opening of his restaurant, Baohaus, is 180 degrees from the typical food memoir; instead of chefs' whites and kitchen brigades, there are drug deals and Cam'ron lyrics.
Through food, sports and hip-hop, Huang finds the language to identify the shame and rage that outlined his childhood as an Asian kid growing up in Orlando. His discovery is our gain: The book is aggressive, funny and earnest, overturning the rocks that define modern success.