• Comedian and chef Eddie Huang. (SBS)Source: SBS
The celebrity chef is real, provocative, and (usually) right.
Jenna Martin

21 Mar 2017 - 12:41 PM  UPDATED 21 Mar 2017 - 12:47 PM

Eddie Huang is a wearer of many hats. He’s a hip-hop-obsessed child of the '80’s who chucked in a career as a lawyer to become a stand-up comedian. As you do. After that, he became a chef, a New York Times best-selling author, and a TV producer when his aforementioned memoir got turned into a TV series.

Most people would reckon that’s a solid effort by the time you’re 30, but not Huang, who then opened another restaurant and became host of his own culinary series, Huang’s World. He’s made a name for himself as a straight talker, opinion-haver, and general caller-outer of BS when he sees it.

Here are some of his hottest, realest and most controversial takes…

Eddie tells it like it is. Straight up: it sucks to be single  

“You could be an axe murderer, a police officer or a Republican, but if you had a significant other you’d still be in a much better place than anyone who is single.”

Sometimes he cuts a little too close to the bone, like when talking about being an Asian man in America…

“I feel like Asian men have been emasculated so much in America that we’re basically treated like black women.” 

Eddie doesn’t hold back - whether he’s talking about relationships, his abusive dad, or even the size of his willy

“When my s*** is soft, it looks like a cheddar combo, but when it’s hard… I remember I was reading Maxim in high school and they were like, 'The average penis size is six inches.' I went to my room and measured, and I was dead on six inches. I was like, 'I’m average!' I think Asian men, we wonder about this - like, is our s*** OK, because everyone says it’s going to be dog food.”

He's passionate about the stigma attached to dating Asian men - and is constantly frustrated by the assumption they aren’t attractive simply because of ethnicity

“There are still people who believe Asian men are inept and undesirable to any women outside their race… Attractiveness is a very haphazard dish that can’t be boiled down to height or skin colour, but Asian men are told that regardless of what the idyllic mirepoix is or isn’t, we just don’t have the ingredients.”

I’m not a bloke, but I’m sure there’s a ton of truth to this point

“A lot of times, as a man, you don’t feel empowered or enabled, or you’re not given the opportunity to speak about negative body image or how insecure you are about the way you look. We’re supposed to just be measured on our abilities and our work. This was a thing I really struggled with.”

Asian people aren’t being understood in America today…

“My entire life, the single most interesting thing to me is race in America. How something so stupid as skin or eyes or stinky Chinese lunch has such an impact on a person’s identity, their mental state and the possibility of their happiness. It was race. It was race. It was race.” 

…and he thinks they’re not being afforded basic rights and kindness

“People on the margins aren’t afforded the privilege of being complicated, whole human beings in America; we have to create that existence ourselves, and it is that experience that I feel fundamentally binds us.”

He’s not going to stand for being treated as a second-class citizen

"Being a natural-born American, I refuse to see myself as a guest or an alien, no matter how many people tell me to go back to China.”

He refuses to let any minority feel they’re not good enough

"As immigrants, we must tell our stories if we want to be understood at full market value… I hope that one day America will acknowledge my identity and accept that I am a yellow-blooded, whole American, entitled to equal rights, because nowhere in our creation story is whiteness tied to the definition of an American.”

He’s been open about how much he hated the way his memoir was adapted - and watered down

“The network’s approach was to tell a universal, ambiguous, cornstarch story about Asian-Americans resembling moo goo gai pan written by a Persian-American who cut her teeth on race relations writing for Seth MacFarlane.”

And he’s got the best explanation that ever was of how food is the great equaliser

“Food is an industry people recognise as democratic and forgiving. Restaurants and bars are places where you can work with a criminal history, without a high-school diploma, even without email or a bank account. It’s kind of a utopia that way — an environment that can be a model for how to deal with global issues at a small scale, and where you can taste, feel and digest perspectives on a plate that may be indigestible in other forms. They are places where a Taiwanese-Chinese-American can sit with Forza Nuova and argue over arancini. They are places where former skinheads seek refuge via tapas. And I think it should remain that way.”

Watch Huang’s World on Sundays at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND. 

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