Growing up in Massachusetts, Fu-Mao Sun took summer trips to Taiwan, where his mother is from—and where he discovered the joys of Taiwanese breakfast. “Then we come back to America, and it’s just absolutely nowhere to be found,” Sun said. “When I was a kid I would be like, Why isn’t this a thing?” During the pandemic, Sun made it a thing in Atlanta, launching a pop-up called Mighty Hans that specializes in Taiwanese American fare; his brunches, featuring some of the dishes you see here, gained him scores of fans. Watch his Instagram for future events—and in the meantime check out the equally fabulous dinners he’s serving Thursday nights at Gigi’s Italian Kitchen in Candler Park. Either option is much more convenient than a flight to Taipei.
The past year brought a mochi doughnut boom to Atlanta, but Sun grew up eating mochi on his visits to Taiwan. He bought a doughnut mold at a restaurant supply store and, after some tweaking, came up with a recipe for chewy baked doughnuts; the eye-catching pastries act as “a vessel for other Taiwanese flavors,” says Sun, whose creations include taro, pineapple, dragon fruit, and (pictured here) black sesame mochi doughnuts.
Fried chicken sandwich
Sun didn’t understand the Taiwanese passion for a particular preparation of fried chicken—served by the popular franchise Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken—until he tried a piece himself. “You take a bite and realize it’s a different flavor,” he says. Now he marinates his chicken the same way: in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and garlic. He dredges the chicken in coarse sweet potato flour before frying, coats it in five-spice seasoning afterward, then tops the finished product with a drizzle of housemade “aioli” (Kewpie mayo, fermented tofu, garlic, and lemon), pickles, and eggs scrambled with scallions.
Scallion pancake bacon, egg, and cheese
This dish represents the confluence of Taiwanese street food and Sun’s favorite breakfast sandwich from time he spent in New Jersey. The scallion pancakes have duck fat between the layers, and are stuffed with bacon, egg, and cheddar. Instead of ketchup (à la Jersey), there’s garlic bean paste. “It’s a playful dish,” he says. “It’s not the most healthy dish, obviously”—so of course it has a place on the brunch table.
Savory soy milk
Sun tries to blend Taiwanese tradition with Western touches, but a friend advised him not to stray too far from the soul of his Taiwanese heritage—so this is one of the more traditional dishes on the menu. The housemade savory soy milk is seasoned with soy, vinegar, and chili oil and topped with fried cruller pieces, chili oil, scallion, and pickled mustard. The vinegar coagulates the soy milk, giving it a tofu-like texture. “It’s really simple, but especially in wintertime, it hits the spot,” Sun says.
Stuffed with bits of savory cruller, pork floss, fried egg, and garlic bean paste, this sticky, umami-rich rice roll is a Taiwanese breakfast staple. Sun learned how to make his with the help of YouTube videos—watching street vendors in Taiwan—and lots of practice. “I’ll be honest, at the first few events, they weren’t that great,” he says.
This article appears in our February 2023 issue.