Faces of the Industry: Eric Sze
Photo credit: Gary He
Eric Sze was born in Taipei, and spent the majority of his childhood in Taiwan, one of the street food capitals of the world. His hometown’s humble and hospitable dining culture was inspiring from a young age, and Eric has always preferred the honesty of a meal eaten on a street corner to that of a formal dining room.
While studying at NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, Eric quickly realized that both Chinese and Taiwanese dining cultures were misunderstood and under appreciated within the American market – he dreamed of opening his own restaurant that would better translate the food of his childhood. He spent time honing his culinary skills at Momofuku and Mighty Quinn’s BBQ during college; following graduation, he founded Scallion Foods, a high-quality Chinese food delivery startup that followed the slow food mantra.
Eric continued to develop his ingredient-first mentality as co-founder of The Tang, a modern Chinese noodle bar in the East Village. A year and a half and much success later, Eric left the The Tang to realign with his roots and mission of spreading the joy of Taiwanese food to an American audience. 886 is the dream project that Eric has been working towards for years – an opportunity to bring Taiwanese street food culture to New York in a refined yet approachable way.
When eating out, what neighborhood do you end up in the most?
What’s your favorite restaurant in NYC right now?
Joe’s Steam Rice Roll. “I elevate to a heavenly level every time I eat there. My order is all the vegetables, fresh shrimp, no egg, with extra chili oil.”
What is your favorite dish to cook?
Stir-fry tomato and egg
Brooklyn Kura. “The smoothest sake, and has the best floral, fragrant finishes. It’s almost like eating rice rolls.”
What would be your last meal on earth?
My mom’s cooking. Her signature dish is red braised pork belly with squid and taro.