Is There Any Tougher Critic Than Your Hardass Asian Mom?

October 14th, 2010 | 7 comments | Posted by Jen

Y’all. If you’ve ever thought your own Hardass Asian Mom was tough on you, more often your toughest critic than your biggest fan, quicker to point out your failings than your strengths, more likely to greet you with a laundry list of reasons as to why you fell on your face when you fell on your face rather than a band-aid for your boo-boo-ed ego, then the letter below is for you.

But first, some background. Eddie Huang (pictured) is the Taiwanese American chef/owner of two restaurants in New York, Baohaus and the recently opened Xiao Ye. Xiao Ye received a terrible review in the NY Times this week, wherein Sam Sifton, while lauding some of Huang’s dishes, compared the taste of one dish to that of “cardboard and water,” and wrote that another “might have been made by your college roommate in a borrowed Crock-Pot one night over winter break, then discarded in favor of Greek pizza from that place out by the discount liquor store.” E.T. said OUCH!

On the heels of this, Huang’s HAM–who taught him how to cook–weighed in by email, which he published on his blog, Fresh Off The Boat:

Hi Eddie,
So what do you think about this review. I feel it is a review of your life. It sounds so familiar to The Food Net Work competition Judge’s comments. I guess you never registered all the opinions from those professionals who have seen so many people working toward their success. There is a reason why the other guy won. Good taste, hardworking attitudes, great values. In our life, there is a lot of honesty does exist. The vast majority of public will give us a score that we deserve. You have so many different fabulous talents, but to focus, and to perfect it is very crucial. No matter what career you explore, there always going to deal with: discipline, honest hard work, social skills, leadership ON TOP OF YOUR PERSONAL TALENTS.

Your talents will not shine or truly succeed until you have satisfied the basics that other competitors have already.

You have always tried to be different or funny for the sake of funny, to cover up your anger and discomforts about how we Asian are being perceived. It is not necessary to do that, your true talents will lead you above it all. You must know what you really are, and able to do well. Restaurant business is a very very tedious business, and requires on going detailed watching. Is this whole package of restaurant business really what you can do, and enjoy doing? I do not see much difference in the stress levels compare to other choice of career, but much less money rewards. Trust me, you much keep your bar license active just in case you need it. You do not even understand your own strength or the whole scope of this business, and you are not even willing to listen. YOU MUST GET BURNT BEFORE YOU WILL HEAR YOUR MOM. Please calm down, analyze yourself, and be honest. You have a lot of potential, but you must make good choice and stick to it with the best choice. With all the staff, and your korean friend, no one was able to point out or warn you the mistakes, or problems you have???????????????????

Sound familiar??????????????????

Anyway, it speaks to Huang’s menschitude that not only is he taking the Times review to heart, he’s also taking his Hardass Asian Mom’s pep-up(?) speech on the chin.

Now, go hug your mother for being less mean than you thought she was. Or hug her for being just as mean as you thought she was, but caring about you, nonetheless, like Eddie Huang’s mom does him, in her own effed-up, twisted way.

[NY Times: Xiao Ye restaurant review]
[Fresh Off The Boat: Ma Dukes Responds to Sifton Review]
[Village Voice: Eddie Huang: Cheshes a "Clown," Sifton "Felt Like My Dad Talking to Me"]

Thanks, Leonard!

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7 Responses to “Is There Any Tougher Critic Than Your Hardass Asian Mom?”

  1. mizzj says:

    Aww I think this letter is quite sweet actually! She’s trying to help him improve which really is a much better way of showing your love than filling your child with unrealistic expectations of entitlement. Go hard-ass mom!!

  2. sunnydlita says:

    I met Michelle Kwan at a press event the other day. When I told my Hardass Asian Mom about it, she asked me what Michelle is up to nowadays. I told her that she’s studying diplomacy in grad school, and she said, “I always thought you would be a good waijiao (diplomat) because you are bilingual. See? It is not too late to change your career!”

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DISGRASIAN™, Jasmine D, Teresa Wu , Grace Chu, Ricky and others. Ricky said: Nope. RT @disgrasian: Is There Any Tougher Critic Than Your Hardass Asian Mom? http://dlvr.it/72GQp [...]

  4. Le says:

    My mom actually isn’t a HAM. Now my dad on the other hand… don’t even get me started!!!!

  5. dalianmoon says:

    Well…she’s not wrong.

  6. Jen says:

    @dalianmoon HA! Spoken like a true Hardass Asian-by-Marriage Mom!

  7. Shayera says:

    Oh God, my Mom could have totally written that letter.

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