5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
For those of you less familiar with our favorite Baron of Baos, he's the owner of BaoHaus in New York City. He also famously published his mother's e-mail response on his blog after Sam Sifton's zero-star New York Times review of his now-closed restaurant Xiao Ye. (You might need this information later - just sayin'.)
Five Favorite Food Writers: Eddie Huang
Believe it or not, I never read food blogs or food writing until I opened Baohaus. The only thing I read were cookbooks and the Village Voice's year-end wrap-up because it was the best list of restaurants I could actually afford to eat at and there didn't seem to be a cultural bias.
Over the last year, I've read all kinds of things about food. It seemed every one had a food book they wanted me to read: someone gave me On Food and Cooking, my agent gave me Veganomicon, I read Fortune Cookie Chronicles while commuting. Francis Lam and @SmithStreeter told me I HAD to read Jonathan Gold. I'm no expert on writers, but these were my favorites. They've been writing about cooks and chefs so much, I figured we'd write about them.
I've left out writers who I consider friends. If I drank Four Loko with you *cough* Kat Kinsman or rosé with wifey *cough* Chopstick Senator, I can't put you on. I mean, seriously, what kind of friend keeps score cards?
1. David Chang and Peter Meehan
2. Josh Ozersky
Of all food writers, he truly has created a persona. Whether Mr. Cutlets is actually Josh Ozersky or an alter ego is anyone's guess, but I think it's dope. Mr. Cutlets is the MF Doom of food writers. Eat rappers for lunch and spit out the chain. Reading his work, you realize that he is probably the only man alive that may actually like food more than [ladies]. There's a bit of Rodney Dangerfield to Ozersky and the brief moment of self-awareness which randomly rears it's head in the midst of burger worship are what make him unique. Must read."
3. Robert Sietsema
He also has an appreciation for low-brow things like Tex-Mex despite the fact that he knows 'here today foodies' will jump on him for liking something that's past its prime. We need more food writers who will take a stand and say what they truly feel in the face of wanna-be foodies who rely on other people's research and taste buds to form opinions and trends. Not everyone wants to read about some sh*t hole with table cloths and tasting menus. Sometimes, we just want to know where the damn El Cantinero is in our neighborhood."
4. Jonathan Gold
But then I read 'Great Balls o' Rice!' - I knew exactly what he was talking about! Not only did he have a mastery of Shanghai as a region, but he shouted out the midnight snack of my pre-stoner childhood: tong yuan. As a bonus, he was the one White Dude that finally echoed what I've been telling people forever: Chinese food is regional. You wouldn't go to Texas and order vinegar pulled pork and you shouldn't ever order ma po tofu at a Shanghainese restaurant cause it's going to taste like some raw food weirdo put agave nectar in it. The only things that you can get at any Chinese restaurant without any variance in quality are Johnnie Walker and zodiac placemats.
Then I kept reading ... and he dropped this heat rock:
Jonathan Gold, I fux wit you."
5. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
You're all about the verdict. Before you read, you're counting the stars and you want a second round knockout. I appreciate a writer who jabs, goes to the body, goes to the head, let's you bleed your way through 12 rounds knowing exactly how it's going to end and how he's going to end it - but he bleeds you. If I didn't respect the hustle, I'd just look at f#@$ing Zagat Books.
Due to the fact that most people read on a level somewhere between Gua, Viki, and Eli Porter, we want things spelled out with stars. If there's a reference you don't understand, it must be the writer's fault. Think but this and all is mended. Sure, my boy's got a very stylistic way of writing, but so do our favorite directors. Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Spike Lee: all stylistic, all original, borderline formulaic. Adidas, jump cuts, shadows, Johnny pumps. Cue Biggie's mom, 'Big Up to Brooklyn.'"
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.
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