Persian rugs, brain sandwiches, saffron ice cream and hookah -- after indulging in some of Little Tehran's most obvious attractions, chef/food personality Eddie Huang is not impressed.
Huang hit the streets of Persian Square in Los Angeles, Calif. for "Fresh Off The Boat," a web series on VICE dedicated to exploring the ethnic enclaves of different cities. The show's tagline: "Watch Eddie Huang eat food and do cool sh*t." Huang's description of the show from this episode: "We go to different ethnic neighborhoods and we make babies." Edgy!
After stopping into a rug store to meet up with his guide (entrepreneur Nima Nabavi of Digital Gravel), the pair hits the Attari sandwich shop, the neighborhood's first Persian business. Huang bites into the sheep brain sandwich and just isn't feeling the "freak food." "It's never like, amazing," laments Huang. "It's never eventful. It's all hype!"
The episode just goes downhill from there. At a hookah bar, Huang recounts his day in Persian square (rug shopping, brain sandwiches and saffron ice cream), and a Persian-American woman laughs, "those are three things I've never done in my life."
At the end of the day, Huang is just kind of meh about the whole experience. "A collection of businesses is not necessarily a community," says Huang. "You wish that this culture would plant their flag a little deeper in LA."
Huang's tepid review will probably come as a shock to the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles -- the largest concentrations of Persians outside Iran.
Parts two and three of Huang's Los Angeles episode will go live Monday, Dec. 17.