“ Address: Unit 1 & 1A Wing Yip Centre / 544 Purley Way / Croydon / London / England „
My family and I have been going to the Tai Tung restaurant for a number of years. During this time, they've grown more popular, however, very disappointingly, it now seems to think there's no problem with their strategy to combat the recession by reducing the dishes by around a third, increasing the prices significantly whilst adding the customary 10% 'service' charge...for poor service and not bothering to say thank you or even goodbye on the way out? The food is unquestionably delicious, however, definitely not matched by what appears to be the management's greedy attitude and ignorance at customer loyalty.
Tai Tung is a Chinese restaurant situated in the Wing Yip complex in Croydon. Apart from going into Chinatown, I find this to be one of the better restaurants around for good Chinese food.
The restaurant has 2 floors, which hold around 80 people per floor. It is always really busy, especially in the afternoon. I went on a Sunday, and there was a queue to get in. They deal with this by giving you a numbered ticket, and when they call the number, they have a table available for you.
This is where things started going wrong though. After being told there would be a 15 minute wait, and listening for a table number "2", I found I was waiting for almost half an hour. After speaking to the lady dealing with seating, she insisted that she called out number 2. I was standing by the door listening carefully, and never heard her call the table number.
Eventually after being seated, we ordered the food - Sweet and sour chicken, beef noodles and pork and duck with rice. These dishes were served quickly apart from the latter. After waiting about 15 minutes for it to come out, I asked the waitress if they had forgotten to bring it out, which they had. She then informed me that she was going to bring the dish. When she came back, she said that they had run out of pork! I had to just order the rice and duck instead which when served, was missing the rice! Eventually the dish came out correctly.
Apart from the abysmal service, the food here is very good. The sweet and sour chicken was very crispy. The beef noodles were of usual standard with very soft beef and a delicious sauce. They also offer dim sum, which is also very good, and probably served more efficiently. The prices here are also very decent, and our meal came up to £30 for 4 dishes, tea, and 2 soups.
Go to this restaurant for the food, not the service. (If you can deal with waiting times in the afternoon, and rude waitresses) The food is always of high standard, and is one of the more authentic places around.
Being back in the UK has enabled me to indulge in all the things I have missed. Chinese food in the Netherlands is pretty nondescript and so it's with considerable relief that I'm able to have this again. One place of note is a restaurant inside the Wing Yup complex in Croydon which does excellent dim sum on a Sunday. For Londoners who like dim sum but who don't want to fight their way into the West end at weekends, this might just be what you're looking for.
The concept of dim sum is a range of light dishes, served at about lunch time in UK Chinese restaurants. In Hong Kong and Guangdong province (South China) it can start at 5am. This can be meat, seafood, vegetables desserts and fruit. Typical dishes are meat or fish wrapped in small pastry wrappers or large thin Ho Fun noodles. Dishes are usually served in a bamboo steamer basket or small plate. Dim sum is a Cantonese phrase and means "touch the heart" or "order to your heart's content". Historically, travellers on the ancient Silk Road needed somewhere to sleep, and rural farmers somewhere to have tea, so teahouses were established on roadsides. At first tea and food wasn't combined as it was though to lead to weight gain, but once the digestive benefits of tea were discovered, snacks were added and dim sum evolved over time.
We arrived at about 12.30 and already the place was bustling and full. The way to get a table is to go up to the reception desk, tell them how many are in your group and get a numbered ticket, which they will call in some sort of order once a table is ready for your particular size of party. I noted that they also asked if everyone had arrived, and I would surmise that hogging a table while waiting for others to arrive is frowned upon.
The restaurant is on 2 floors, each floor having room for a lot of people, I reckon at least 80 people per floor. The tables are mostly for 4-6 people, most of them being round with a large white tablecloth on top.
As we waited outside, occasionally a man would walk in with big chunks of pig, to be soon transformed into small dishes of spare ribs or something (we were offered these as we were sat right next to the bar where they were being stacked but politely declined).
We specifically went for dim sum and so I can't comment on the main menu, only the small laminated dim sum one.
Unlimited Chinese tea only £2 in total, between 4 of us, great value.
Seafood rolls in oyster sauce - 3 small rolls were served and were immersed in a thick, sticky light coloured liquid which I assume to be oyster sauce, which was pleasantly sweet. The rolls were deep fried and firm, filled with mixed seafood and incredibly tasty, like a burst of flavour.
Squid cake - these were flat round and firm, with flecks of onion and chilli. These were quite crunchy and very tasty.
Squid in curry sauce - this is one of my favourite dim sum dishes, and is sometimes made from baby squid, but this time it was quite small rings swimming in a piquant yet sweet, slightly oily curry sauce. The squid was firm and yet pleasantly chewy, such that not too much mastication was required, and so was the perfect quid dish.
Prawn dim sum - small steamed rolls of prawn were pleasantly soft in the wanton pastry and crispy in the prawns themselves.
Vegetarian spring rolls - deep fried rolls filled with chopped chinese mushroom, beansprouts, onion and carrot, these were pretty nice.
Chicken buns - these were a pleasant oddity. Finely chopped morsels of spiced chicken were enclosed in a sweet, thick and sticky pastry, which served as an unusual and yet decent complement to the meat inside.
Japanese noodles with seafood - a big dish of udon noodles was mixed in with some seafood sauce (we were asked if we wanted these with sauce or dry), and mixed in with mange tout, sliced carrot, squid pieces and prawns. The noodles were thick and tasty, the seafood delicious and the sauce adding some pleasant moisture.
Soft noodles with vegetables - these fine egg noodles were fried with mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, spring onion and carrot. Perhaps a touch oily, these were nevertheless flavoursome and the vegetables added a pleasant crunch to the softness of the noodles. We could have also ordered these crispy style.
All in all between the 4 of us we had 8 dim sum dishes at £2-3 each and 2 noodles dishes about £8 each. The grand total was &37.50 including tip, so this was very tasty, filling and great value for money. I would highly recommend this place as an alternative to Chinatown, but be aware that in common with going into town, you have to arrive fairly early to avoid queuing.
Tai Tung Chinese Restaurant,
Unit 1 & 1A Wing Yip Centre,
544 Purley Way,
Telephone : 020 8688 3668
Website : http://www.taitungchinese.co.uk/