Win Son has been serving sweet-salty, umami-rich Taiwanese flavors to East Williamsburg since 2016, and now the ever-mobbed dinner-and-brunch spot is serving Taiwan-inspired treats at Win Son Bakery, all-day café across the street.
The new offshoot has some overlap with its original location. Turnip cakes and scallion pancakes are on both menus, and Win Son’s family-style fried chicken is sold in single-person portions at the bakery. But the bakery’s savory options are more of a Taiwanese-American fusion, with a focus on salads (think white sesame Caesar with garlicky bread crumbs) and sandwiches, like a towering eggplant parm with tomatoes in doubanjiang, a spicy-salty bean paste and a hambao with dry-aged beef, raclette, and a gingery sauce that also makes it way onto the morning egg buns. For dessert, they’ve got a golden waffle cone of purple sweet potato soft serve with a five-spice magic shell and candied walnuts (lawd have mercy). Though inventive, the PM menu is more straightforward and easier to navigate than the AM offerings.
In the bleary-eyed morning, how are you supposed to know that you need a Xiao Huai Huai, a Fan Tuan, and black sugared mochi donut for breakfast-dessert? Let us show you the way.
If you’re a fan of international sodas, check out the refrigerated case that lines the subway-tiled coffee counter. Here, glass bottles of Coca-Cola and Topo Chico sparkling water are lined up beside cans of Taiwanese beverages like Apple Sidra, Hey Song Sarsaparilla, and Basil Seed Drink, along with fresh-squeezed watermelon juice.
If not, you could order your go-to drip coffee, cold brew, or espresso drink, but it would be a shame to skip the Xiao Haui Haui, which Google-translates to “small bad.” This term feels about right for this decadent and wonderful little cup of joe. Here, thick, sweet, custardy, five-spice-infused crème anglaise is poured over espresso for an elegantly spiced sip of autumn (no pumpkins required).
The Xiao Haui Haui pairs well with the Win Son milk bun, the sweet bread layered with fried and folded egg and Raclette. It would be a mild-mannered affair, except that it drips with a bright-flavored ginger sauce—a delicious thing that you never expected to love on an egg and cheese sandwich. You can fatten it up with some smoky bacon or braised pork knuckle, or go beyond the milk bun by getting it on a scallion pancake instead.
Our favorite savory option was the Fan Tuan, a rice roll with flavors and textures that are totally different from any typical New York breakfast sandwich. The Fan Tuan is served in a tight jacket of plastic wrap. Peel it off to reveal sticky rice encircling a thin layer of fried egg, some tofu or pork, scallions, and “Chinese cruller,” crunchy and delicious bits of deep-fried dough.
The pastry heavyweight here is the mochi donut. It’s a thick, rich belly-bomb that’s crusted with a crunchy combo of black and white sugar crystals. The mineral-rich black sugar brings the salty, malty flavor that makes the donut so special.
Of course, if you’re a fan of sticky toffee pudding, then the red date cake, gooey with caramel glaze, will be your jam. Or try the custard toast, an inch-thick slice of square bread, smeared with custard and broiled to bubbly perfection.
In truth, the only bad thing about the morning menu at Win Son Bakery is that once you’ve gorged on a big-flavored, carb-wild, intensely satisfying breakfast, your day can only go downhill from there.
Win Son Bakery is located at 164 Graham Ave, Williamsburg; (917) 909-1725. The bakery is open from 7am to 2pm. and 5:30 to 9:30pm Tuesdays through Sundays. On Mondays, they are open from 7am to 2pm and closed for the later shift.