The book is by Josh Ku and Trigg Brown, co-founders of the wildly popular Win Son and Win Son Bakery, both in Brooklyn, with an assist from noted Brooklyn food writer Cathy Erway who’s the author of “The Food of Taiwan” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).
Brown, who had cooked at New York City’s Craft and Upland had a Taiwanese American mentor, Pei Jen Chang early in his career. He teamed with best friend Josh Ku, a former property and construction manager whose parents grew up in southern Taiwan, to open the restaurant. It is named for the sweater manufacturing company, Winsome, which Ku’s grandfather started in Taiwan. Its name roughly translates from Chinese to “success and abundance of profit.”
It proved prophetic given the throngs now flocking nonstop to both Win Son and Win Son Bakery.
My childhood memories of Chinese soy sauce chicken revolve around my mom trekking to a deli in San Francisco Chinatown with me toddling by her side. There, she’d carefully point to a plump one hanging in the window, which would get chopped ferociously with a cleaver into manageable pieces, and wrapped up in a takeout box for our dinner that night.
At home, I’d help plug in the rice cooker for fresh steamed white rice, while my mom stir-fried some asparagus, bok choy or gai lan from the fridge. It was the makings for a quick, simple, and satisfying weeknight family meal.
Pineapple was not something she’d necessarily think to pair with it. But thankfully, food writer Cathy Erway, whose mother hails from pineapple-growing Taiwan, had that light-bulb moment. Because like Tom Cruise to Renee Zellweger in “Jerry Maguire,” pineapple completes soy sauce chicken.
The fresh juicy chunks add sweetness and tropical bright acidity, providing another level of flavor to the soy-caramelized chicken. After all, who among us doesn’t zero in on the pineapple pieces in a dish of sweet and sour pork, right? Best yet, Erway makes this complete dish in a sheet pan in the oven for utmost convenience.
“Mom’s Soy Sauce Chicken with Pineapple and Bok Choy” is from her new cookbook, “Sheet Pan Chicken: 50 Simple and Satisfying Ways to Cook Dinner” (Ten Speed Press). Erway, a Brooklyn-based James Beard Award-winning writer, has created 50 recipes for everyone’s favorite protein using the “it” method of laying it all on a sheet pan, sliding it into the oven, and forgetting about it until the timer goes off.