This hugely popular restaurant is officially named Tai Tung but it’s more commonly known as Wing Yip after the enormous Asian superstore in which it resides.
Seeing this place on a Sunday, you would think it were the only Chinese restaurant for hundreds of miles, although it’s not much quieter on any other day of the week. Aside from this Croydon branch, there are superstores in Birmingham, Manchester and Cricklewood, so their fan-base is widely spread and as they quite rightly point out themselves, it is a Mecca for those who love authentic Chinese cooking and eating.
The dining area is large and open-plan, with the same space upstairs and both areas are full to the brim with hungry regulars, enthusiastic children digging in, families uniting over hot-pots as well as quieter dinners for two - it really is bustling and the focus is all on fast, come when its ready, good food. The service - as is quite often the case in Chinese restaurants like this - can be abrupt at times, but it does the job. The décor has been the same since the 90s and is rather non-descript; this is not the place to go to in search of sophistication, but it remains fantastic in its own way.
Tai Tung caters for everyone and the vast menu includes the usual dim sum and roasted meats (which are expertly cleaver-hacked from a station in the corner) to fresh steamed fish, lobster, crab and abalone. The daytime dim sum menu is very reasonably priced (most under £3.50 a dish) and consists of the classics: translucent prawn har kau, succulent grilled pork dumplings, spongy stuffed bean curd with pork and prawn, char siu pork buns, crisp and bubbly Vietnamese spring rolls, taro croquettes, custard buns and the ubiquitous and quite excellent cheung fun with char siu pork stick; they’re all exemplary.
From the a la carte menu, the salt and chilli pork chop is divine; deep-fried slices of pork fillet loaded with chilli and garlic (£9.50), and the kung po chicken is as it should be; dark in colour, not over-sweetened and hot (£7.50) The mixed meat crispy noodles are piled high with slivers of liver, squid, prawns, beef, chicken and a comforting sauce (£6) and the morning glory with garlic and oyster sauce is rich in iron and fresh (£7.50). There’s so much to choose from and the portions are decently-sized, so to try more, take some co-eaters.
Bottomless Chinese tea is a necessity with the dim sum but otherwise a bottle of house wine is £15. Wines from France, Italy and Australia are all there and a fully-stocked bar will cater any spirit desires you may have.
The Last Word
There are no frills, airs, pretences or niceties at Tai Tung, but they serve damn good, authentic food and since there’s no booking on the busy weekends, you better get here early or be prepared to wait (or shop!).