“Don’t let your drink get lonely”. That’s a message from Mascot’s newest, casual eatery, WAN, owned by Carol Xu and Elvan Fan of Moon & Back and Maureen Ma of Bashan.
WAN provides a space for people to gather and enjoy snacks, with a drink or two. The restaurant concept takes inspiration from nostalgic Japanese coffeehouses, known as kissatens, which popped up during the Showa era (1926-1989). During one of Xu and Fan’s bi-annual trips to Japan, the pair thought to create a refreshed kissaten that served simple comfort food with a Taiwanese twist.
“Taiwan has a really intimate relationship with Japan, so you find lots of ‘kissa’-style food,” Fan explains. “[WAN] is not 100 per cent similar to Japanese kissatens, but it’s based on the same thing; a place you can have some food, you can have some drink, you can catch up with friends and chill.”
“A place you can have some food, you can have some drink, you can catch up with friends and chill.”
The name WAN fits the concept since it’s similar to the name for the word ‘bowl’ in Chinese and Japanese. It’s also a play on the words Taiwan and one (as in one bowl of different flavours).
“Most of the time, Western people use the plates and the cutlery, but us Eastern people and Asians, we use a lot of bowls,” Elvan explains. 
One of WAN’s signature bowls is its wagyu sōmen that’s served in a 12-hour bone-marrow broth.
“Traditional Taiwanese beef noodle soup is made with a rich soy base, but we decided to go with a chintan-style broth,” Elvan explains. “It’s normally served with thicker noodles; however, we swap to sōmen which is super thin. It tastes more delicate and suits the chintan soup well.”



Another bestseller is WAN’s pork hamburg, which takes inspiration from a Japanese hambāgu, a meat patty. Steamed rice is topped with a pork-belly mince patty, melted Provolone cheese, miso butter and a fresh egg yolk.



Flip to the dessert menu and you’ll find a coffee jelly that restaurant consultant Kei Tokiwa describes as “an acquired taste and kissaten staple” of dark roasted coffee, sugar and agar.
The Taiwan street-food-inspired milk mochi is another must-try. Xu says, “In 2019, when I visited Taiwan, I found this street dessert in the Taiwan night market. Traditionally, they use peanuts [in it], but I changed it to kinako [roasted soybean powder] and black sugar syrup.”



Guests can enjoy their food and drinks against the backdrop of WAN’s terracotta wall installation that was designed by Darren Kong of Studio Kong. It “represents one of the iconic elements from the vintage iron-window pattern common in Taiwan,” Fan says.

Come together for a fusion feast at WAN in Sydney’s Mascot.
Building and launching the restaurant during the midst of lockdown was stressful, but the team is grateful for its local, loyal customer base. The business hopes to keep serving Taiwanese and Japanese cuisines to the community.
 
Love the story? Follow the author Melissa Woodley here: Instagram @sporkdiaries.
WAN
G03/256 Coward St
Mascot, Sydney
Wed–Thur 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Fri–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm

FOOD OF TAIWAN AND JAPAN

Refresh yourself with natural Taiwanese aiyu jelly
Aiyu is a sweet and syrupy tonic that'll cool you down over the Australian summer.

In Japan, it's fried chicken all the way on Christmas day
Christmas in Japan isn't the most traditional holiday. But it is a loved one that's been imported from the West and celebrated with distinct style – by eating fried chicken.

Japanese breakfast

A traditional Japanese breakfast is made up of rice, miso soup, pickles and a protein – most commonly, grilled fish or an omelette.

Japanese ginger pork (Buta shougayaki)

Japanese snapper soup

This nourishing soup is enriched with flavours from the bones of snapper, which are salted before being added to the broth. A finishing touch of lemon zest, coriander and olive oil completes the well-balanced meal.

This bun filling is honoured by a work in Taiwan's national museum
One of the most popular Taiwanese steamed-bun fillings is even celebrated by the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Taiwanese basil is more than a garnish — it's the main event
In Taiwan, basil can be the star of a dish. Michelle Tchea explains why.

A traditional Japanese breakfast is made up of rice, miso soup, pickles and a protein – most commonly, grilled fish or an omelette.
This nourishing soup is enriched with flavours from the bones of snapper, which are salted before being added to the broth. A finishing touch of lemon zest, coriander and olive oil completes the well-balanced meal.
SBS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia.

source

Shop Sephari