At Win Son in East Williamsburg, Eater Young Guns Josh Ku and Trigg Brown serve Taiwanese-American food to an ever-growing crowd. Late into the night, customers huddle at the bar and around tables dotted with chili oil for big chicken sandwiches, pork buns, clams with basil, and scallion pancakes.
Ku, who maintains the restaurant space since he’s the handyman of the duo, never travels without this pocket-size, multipurpose tool that’s less than $4, which which can tighten a screw, probe things, and generally keep the space looking sharp.
Brown, who handles the kitchen, has an arsenal of tools to keep things running smoothly. He always carries a cake tester, which he uses to “temp meats and monitor the cooking process of any food, vegetables, casseroles, whatever.” For his mis en place set up, Brown uses stainless yakumi pans. And for the hours of chopping typical at a night at Win Son, where scallions or cilantro garnish nearly every dish (the staff polls each table for cilantro aversions), Brown has a sushi-grade board that’s lasted over a decade.
Most crucial, however, may be the tongs. For managing pieces of meat, like the whole braised beef shank in the restaurant’s scallion pancake-wrapped beef roll, Brown uses long Japanese tongs with delicate tips from JB Prince. Some may refer to them as tweezers, while others compare them to saibashi cooking chopsticks. Either way, the essential tool is more versatile than some may assume.
“Japanese tongs aren’t tweezers,” says Brown. “I can handle a two-pound piece of meat with some nice tongs from JB Prince.” While the retailer describes them as “tweezers” that are “excellent for plating and handling delicate ingredients,” they can be used for handling larger ingredients during the cooking process. “Meat forks and Japanese tongs are equally heavy duty, despite the tongs’ finer features,” Brown says. In Win Son’s kitchen, the tongs are “not just for tweezing edible flowers onto premium ceramics and shouldn’t be lumped into the fancy boy club” of fine dining.
Adds Brown, “If you can’t use Japanese tongs because you’re too worried people will accuse you of using tweezers, you’re like one of the [weirdos] that’s too afraid to drink from a coupe because they’re too girly.”
Buy JB Prince 10-Inch Straight Tip Tweezer, $8.90
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