New York : Spiegel & Grau, c2013.
276 pages ; 25 cm.
The author 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 controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, he wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own. He grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, Florida raised by a wild family of FOB ("fresh off the boat") hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, the author burned his way through American culture, defying every "model minority" stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the all-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food, from making Southern ribs with the Haitian cooks in his dad's restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother's kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, he finally threw everything he loved, past and present, family and food, into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he had melded into his own identity. This book is the immigrant's story for the twenty-first century; a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be an American.