One of the warmest and most universal symbols of family is the act of cooking and eating together.
For filmmaker and restaurateur Eddie Huang and his father Louis, their shared meal of dan dan mian (担担面) is fittingly toasted with Hennessy X.O.
In the new digital series “Original Odyssey,” Eddie and Louis look back at key moments in their relationship and growing up in a Taiwanese household in Washington D.C.
Launched in October, the series features AAPI luminaries sharing stories with loved ones who have significantly “inspired and shaped their path to greatness.”
“You raised me very different than other Taiwanese parents,” Eddie tells his father.
To this, Louis responds, “Because I wish my kids are better than me.”
Eddie has always been open when discussing his family in various media, particularly in his autobiography “Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir” and the documentary series “Huang’s World.”
In their “Odyssey” episode, the father and son prepare the dan dan mian (担担面), a noodle dish from Chinese Sichuan cuisine.
Louis, a former restaurateur himself, mentions that the dominant flavors of the noodles’ spicy sauce are peppercorn and sesame paste.
When someone off-camera asks Louis what he thought of “Boogie,” a film written and directed by his son, he simply says, “It’s an interesting story.”
Eddie also reveals his father’s first reaction: “The first time he watched the movie, he said, ‘I can see myself in this.’ And, I also understand that you know that we loved you.”
“Don’t you think it was kind of difficult?” Eddie then asks. “A lot of stories in there are less dramatic versions of what was actually going on at home.”
“True,” Louis responds in agreement.
Eddie goes on to recall more personal and endearing moments with his father.
“You know what a lot of us have seen is our parents in their underwear making instant noodles,” Eddie shares. “I was very proud of that ‘cause those were the moments when I felt my dad was being honest and real.”
According to Eddie, the image of his dad cooking instant noodles in his underwear is the dad he has come to know.
“I also know the dad that made the dan dan noodles, those were some of our best times together,” he says. “Those were the ones I remember.”
“Good,” Louis says. “I’m glad you liked it too.”
As Eddie and Louis begin to share a meal of dan dan noodles in between sips of Hennessy X.O, they reminisce about the time Eddie and his siblings were growing up.
When Eddie reminds his father that he used to push them, Louis explains that he imposed discipline in the household out of fear for his children’s future.
“You definitely changed your tune about six years ago and you were like, just enjoy your life, just be happy,” says Eddie.
“I didn’t want you to grow out to be an ‘average Joe’ anyway,” Louis says. “Whatever makes you happy.”
Asked what he would have done differently, Louis says he would choose to “communicate more patiently” with his children.
“Yeah, it got a little hot and it was a little intense,” Eddie remarks. “Everybody, at some point, tried to run away.”
According to Eddie, they “always found a reason to come back to the family, come back to the table and figure things out. The love was still there. To me, that’s the part of our family’s odyssey that I’m most proud of.”
The two raise their glasses to cheers to the odyssey that they share together, a journey they hope will continue for years.
This post was created by NextShark with Hennessy X.O