A Note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:
When I sat down to interview Trigg Brown and Josh Ku about their Taiwanese American restaurant, Win Son, they talked about their shared a love of food, and how they used to trek all the way out to Flushing just to get good Taiwanese food. They used to get into discussions about what makes food uniquely Taiwanese vs. Chinese or Chinese American, and somewhere along the way they started tossing around the idea of opening up a restaurant together.
At first it seemed like just talk, but then Trigg inherited a commercial stove which they decided to keep- initially in the lobby of Josh’s building. The funny thing is that once this stove showed up, talk of Josh and Trigg’s restaurant idea seemed more and more real. Later the stove was moved into a former restaurant space that Josh was dealing with as a property manager. As fate and a Kickstarter campaign would have it, that former restaurant space ended up being where they opened Win Son.
The two spoke to me about how the challenges of dealing with a cuisine that most have never heard of before, and how the research they did in Taiwan before opening Win Son was less about replicating Taiwanese dishes exactly, but more about understanding Taiwan’s history, culture and food. Both Josh and Trigg understand the subtext they are dealing with by running a Taiwanese American restaurant. Sometimes, loaded political implications can come with the label of being “Taiwanese.” In recreating Taiwanese dishes at Win Son, Trigg and Josh have taken care to pay homage to Taiwan’s culture and cuisine.
Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in the podcast:
- How they met and bonded over their common love of food
- How a stove that Trigg inherited led to the idea of opening a Taiwanese American restaurant concept to becoming a reality
- Where the name Win Son came from
- How Taiwan’s complex history influences Trigg’s understanding of how Taiwanese dishes are prepared
- The research they did in Taiwan before opening up Win Son
- What it means to be a Taiwanese restaurant in New York and how it’s hard not to be political
- How they interpret and pay homage to Taiwan’s history and culture through food
- The challenges of being in the restaurant industry
- Recommendations for people interested in opening up a restaurant
Visit Win Son’s website: www.winsonbrooklyn.com
Follow Win Son on Instagram: www.instagram.com/winsonbrooklyn
Win Son’s Kickstarter campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/win-son-restaurant