Embracing Taiwanese Cuisine

In a new cookbook, Virginia-born chef Trigg Brown shares recipes from Win Son in Brooklyn.

Trigg Brown was a UVA student working in Keswick Hall’s kitchen when chef Pei Jen Chang introduced him to the sweet, subtle flavors and cultural nuances of Taiwanese cuisine. 

Brown, who grew up in Goochland, went on to work in the New York kitchens of celebrity chef Tom Colicchio. But his fascination with Taiwanese food continued. And with Josh Ku, his friend and business partner, he opened Win Son, a Taiwanese-American restaurant in Brooklyn in 2016. “When Josh took me to eat Taiwanese food in Queens,” says Brown, “I started to really understand what it was about.” 

Ku, who is Taiwanese, left the cooking to Brown, “a white dude from Virginia, who can cook lu rou fan better than your mother.” 

Smart move. Bon Appétit called Win Son “one of Brooklyn’s Hottest Restaurants.” And three years later, Brown was among Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” and Win Son had earned two James Beard Award nominations. A second venture, Win Son Bakery, followed. 

Now, with Win Son Presents: A Taiwanese American Cookbook (Abrams, 2023), Brown, Ku, and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Cathy Erway share 100 recipes—from lamb wontons, to pork buns, to Brown’s soft shell crab sandwiches and fried chicken and sesame waffles. Beyond recipes, the book includes conversations with chefs—including Brown’s first mentor, Pei Jen Chang of Charlottesville’s Ten—who explore the political and cultural nuances of Taiwanese cuisine. Says Brown, “food tells stories better than any medium we know.”

Konstantin Rega
A graduate of East Anglia’s renowned Creative Writing MA, Konstantin’s been published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Poetry Salzburg Review, www.jonimitchell.com, the Republic of Consciousness Prize (etc.). He contributes to Publisher Weekly and Treblezine.
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