Writer, radio correspondent, blogger, and all-around fearless unconventional food connoisseur Eddie Lin relishes a good eating challenge. And that now includes keeping his whole family happy at the table. Lin is known for his Deep End and Extreme Cuisine tastes. But it turns out that like a lot of parents, he’s got allergies and finicky tastes to manage, and he’s not averse to going to the Souplantation.
How old are your kids?
4 and 7, both girls.
What are their favorite foods to eat at home?
My 4 year-old Phoebe has several food allergies including soy, dairy, peanut, shellfish, egg and a few others, so feeding her is a challenge. She has quickly learned and adapted to what she can and can not eat. It’s difficult feeding her outside of our home since we can’t fully control what goes into the food restaurants prepare, therefore we need to bring along her allergy medicine. However, the extremely bright side of her major food allergies is that it forces us to feed her whole foods. That said, Phoebe really enjoys, rice cheese (yes, that’s cheese made from rice), fruit, vegetables, 85% cocoa dark chocolate, BBQ beef ribs, uncured beef hot dogs, steamed fish, turkey & rice cheese sandwiches, rice & beans and sorbet.
Chloe, the 7 year-old who can eat whatever she wants, naturally is extremely picky. However, she has eaten pan-fried crickets and enjoys them. She also likes Korean BBQ beef short ribs, BBQ beef ribs, rice and beans, steamed fish, hot dogs, ramen and sweets of all kinds.
Where do you like to eat out together?
Believe it or not, we typically go somewhere super boring and normal — Souplantation. We’re even on their email list for coupons. Besides that, we like Sam Woo, Hop Woo, Versailles, Carnitas Michoacanas, various Brazilian churrascarias, kid-friendly sushi joints like Kabuki, Pho So 1 and The Elephant Bar.
Which are your special kid-free date night places of choice?
We get a little flashbacky on date night. That means we pretend we’re back in our kid-free, care-free days and go enjoy great sushi and sake, then go clubbing or rent a karaoke room in K-town and get our Gaga on.
I — and I imagine many of your fans — want to know the obvious question: Is your whole family into “extreme cuisine”? Or are you often a lone ranger/soloist in this department?
My wife Diane started off going toe to toe with me on my weird eats outings, however, I’ve noticed her interest in my extreme cuisines waning in the past few years. I think she only ate that stuff when we dated to impress me which it did! But, once in a while, she’ll shock and awe me like the time she requested I cook her placenta after the birth of Phoebe. For the record, it was tender and mild flavored.
I started the kids off early with the weird food, even before they could decide on their own. My theory is that when they begin young, it’ll stick better and I feel it’s paying off. They actually fight over bone marrow, fish brain and fish eyeballs (they call these the “squishees”).
Any foods your kids reject that you really wish they’d be into?
Chloe won’t eat eggs no matter how they’re prepared. I, on the other hand, love eggs, especially the ones with a duck fetus inside. Phoebe hates tomatoes and avocados and I wish she’d learn to like them since they’re so healthful.
What have they been willing to eat that’s surprised you the most?
Broccoli, collard greens and bitter melon. These are really impressive because the bitter, astringent flavors usually involve more mature palates.
Have your eating habits or thoughts about food changed since you’ve become a dad?
Yep, I’m making an effort to eat more deep colored veggies and fruit and less meat. If I eat meat, I’ll have fish, poultry or bison. Oh, I also try to stay away from poison blowfish nowadays. I think my girls need me to stick around for a while.