Friday, May 20, 2016

Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China, by Eddie Huang












I came into this though ABC's "Fresh Off The Boat" series...I was offered a copy of this book to review, so I picked up Eddie Huang's first memoir, which was the inspiration for the TV show. I absolutely hated it. I thought that maybe it was just a case of Eddie Huang not coming across well in his book, so I watched a few episodes of his Vice TV show "Huang's World", and, no, I wasn't wrong. Huang comes off just as much of a jerk on TV as he does in his book. By now, I was already committed to review his latest, DOUBLE CUP LOVE: ON THE TRAIL OF FAMILY, FOOD, AND BROKEN HEARTS IN CHINA.

 I really wasn't looking forward to reading this book at all, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, in spite of the fact that Eddie Huang STILL comes across as an aging faux-gangsta hypocrite.

 The new book starts off where the first one left off, as Eddie opens up a Manhattan restaurant called Baohaus, but quickly segues into a buddy road trip, as Eddie and his brothers decide to take a trip to China to see if they could cut it as food cart operators there. That goal really never materializes, but they do take a fascinating tour of China, and their encounters with fellow foodies and other average Chinese citizens are a revelation. Huang comes across some interesting characters there, and seeing their take on America, food, and the current state of China makes for some mesmerizing reading.

 I still fervently wish that Huang would grow up a little, and ditch the endless outdated slang. Hearing (reading...) a grown man call women "shawties"...it's just ridiculous. Huang remains as hateful towards white folk and America as ever, but there's a lot less of his rants in this book, thankfully. I still find Eddie Huang to be a loathsome, stunted human being, but at least his trip to China yielded a good book.

 Spiegel & Grau provided a review copy.