Tong Peng Paed Yang Chok Chai
ตงเพ้ง เป็ดย่าง โชคชัย
If you are looking for the best ‘paed yang’ (grilled duck) in town, look no further than Tong Peng.
Its mother restaurant, which has been located on Chok Chai 4 Soi 3 since 1982, is a higher-scale duck restaurant known as Tong Peng. Originally a Chinese food restaurant, it became focused on selling duck in 1988. With a 36-year old grilled duck recipe in the family name, it is difficult for other restaurants to compete with this legacy.
If you want to prove whether the taste is as good as our word, go prove it for yourself. Order the ข้าวหน้าเป็ด, ‘khao na paed’ (duck over rice), or บะหมี่เป็ดย่าง, ‘baa mii paed yaang’ (grilled duck over egg noodles) – or both! Add as much as you want of the thick, light brown gravy for the authentic taste of their recipe, and some of the dark brown sauce with chilis for a more sweet & sour taste.
If you are curious about the restaurant’s background and its longstanding recipe, read on…
Interview with the owner of Tong Peng Paed Yang, Khun Ting
What’s the background story of this restaurant?
The owner, Ting, is the grandson of the owner of the original restaurant, who was born in central China. Being owned by a Chinese-Thai family, the original owners at first wanted to preserve their heritage with Chinese good but did not have the knowledge to do so. So they experimented, tried out different recipes…and well, the rest is history…It’s in every bite of the dishes you will eat here.
What’s the secret to their success?
The secret to the goodness of their classic, longstanding recipe: Sustainability.
They are able to sustain the quality and taste to the point that the owner no longer has to cook the duck, but the owner’s trained team can replicate the same quality. The recipe has been preserved and maintained over the years, keeping the same ingredients and always holding its quality to a high standard in every way.
The owner says he has always focused on preserving this point.
What’s the main difference between the two restaurants?
The older restaurant is very formal and only attracts a certain customer who either can afford higher prices or those that come for special occasions. On the other hand, the main purpose of the Chok Chai 4 location is that people can ‘eat easy’ and enjoy ‘everyday food’.
Sticking with their theme of sustainability, you will notice that all of the staff are friendly, warm and happy to see and serve their customers, always greeting everyone with big smiles. The restaurant already has a homey, old-fashioned feel and thus, the staff makes a big contribution to creating this welcoming environment.
What kind of advertising is done for the restaurant?
The restaurant recently won the ‘Users choice’ award in Wongnai, where one may find the Thai versions of their best reviews.
Although the restaurants are minimally advertised (Facebook, Google, and Wongnai or LINE for the older customers), eighty percent of their customers are regulars.
Customer loyalty and word-of-mouth seem the be the main forces of the restaurant’s longevity.
What have you learned since being an owner?
The owner has learned a lot in his experience of taking over the family business. With a background in marketing from Thammasat, he has used his foundational knowledge but mainly gained experience in working in regards to managing people, change management, and human resources.
- Problems come every day, all of the time. You have to take care of them quickly. You have to manage a lot of things — customers, produce, stocks, materials, etc.
- You learn through experience. For example, if something that worked in the past isn’t working in the present, you have to adjust it so it is more suitable for current situations and people’s needs. Ie. Their old-school system of handwritten checks are slowly moving towards a more reliable and secure computerized system.
Although his father and grandfather didn’t teach him with many words, they showed him through their examples and he gained experience in this way.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to be an owner or start their own business?
- Everything takes time. You have to be patient because everything needs time.
- How you plan things and how they turn out in reality are not always the same. We may think things will be a certain way, and then actions will show something else.
- You have to be adaptable — You have to see where change is needed and adapt yourself or adjust the situation accordingly.
- There will be a lot of problems. Learn and become a problem-solver.
At first, the owner was not super keen on becoming the owner and became tired of encountering all sorts of problems, but he realized how difficult it was to have a popular restaurant name…when so many others like him would do anything to have what he had. He wasn’t going to waste this valuable of an asset and thus, chose to preserve and develop it instead. If you take a look around the restaurant and its reviews, it is clear that his decision has paid off.
What does the future look like for Tong Peng?
The restaurant continues to develop, with its recent redesign five months ago (Still maintaining its classic style, of course).
They are planning on opening a third branch more central in Bangkok, and are in the process of scouting out a location. But, before they make their big move into the city, they want to be sure that this restaurant works as a perfect model — that all of the problems and kinks are ironed out and that it can be replicated as a model anywhere, still maintaining the quality and family tradition.
Any last piece of advice?
“Keep moving all of the time.”