A Taiwanese-American chef in New York who rose to fame by selling Taiwanese-style hamburgers has been selected as the host of a TV cooking series in the US.
The first show in the series Cheap Bites was broadcast on Sunday on the Cooking Channel. The host, 30-year-old Eddie Huang (黃頤銘), is a former lawyer and clothing designer whose parents are Taiwanese and who moved to the US before he was born.
In 2008, Huang opened a sandwich shop named Baohaus in New York to introduce Taiwanese food to Americans.
Baohaus is a tiny popular spot located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The shop’s specialty and bestseller is “Chairman bun,” made with red cooked pork belly and a topping of the classic Taiwanese condiments peanut powder and red sugar.
In an interview with the Central News Agency, Huang said he used to be very upset when he heard his schoolmates criticize his meal box as stinky and filthy, which was the stereotypical view of Chinese cuisine.
At the time, there were only two kinds of Chinese restaurants in the US: the cheap and dirty ones and the high-class, but unaffordable ones, he said.
With this thought in mind, Huang decided to make a career move and open a restaurant to sell guabao (刈包) — Taiwanese-style hamburgers.
He was following in the footsteps of his mother and grandfather, who both sold guabao — a traditional steamed bread with filling — in Taipei.
Huang’s restaurant became extremely popular and he was named in a survey on the zagat.com Web site in May last year as one of 30 up-and-coming chefs under the age of 30.
Huang said his work as host of the TV series would include traveling around the US to find cheap, but high quality dining places.
He said he would also talk about culture and politics to help people realize that Asian Americans have a wide range of opinions and ideas.