ตงเพ้ง เป็ดย่าง โชคชัย – Tong Peng Grilled Duck Chok Chai

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.

While Tong Peng focuses on its older generation customers, Tong Peng Paed Yang on Chok Chai 4 Soi 69 serves a different kind of loyal customers, more likely to be in the younger generation category.

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.

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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?

  1. Everything takes time. You have to be patient because everything needs time.
  2. 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.
  3. You have to be adaptable — You have to see where change is needed and adapt yourself or adjust the situation accordingly.
  4. 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.”

Chok Chai 4 – A Hood with A Heart

When people ask me which area of Bangkok I live in, I reply that I live in Chok Chai 4 (in Thai pronounced Chok Chai Si). If a Thai person hears me say Chok Chai Si, they normally reply: “a place with delicious food”. Now Thai are experts in food and there is no shortage of flavorsome food in any square inch of the country. So one has to believe that when they say this, it has to mean something.

The Thai Hospitality

Chok Chai Si is my hood. And for a visitor, an opportunity to experience the old fashioned Thai hospitality, usually experienced in the countryside or untouched communities, like Chumphon. Here in the hood, the locals welcome foreigners (or as Thai called us‘Falang’) with genuine smiles.

If you give a smile, you will not be countered by suspicious looks. And smiling in the hood isn’t hard to do. Because the overall attitude is simply happy and relaxed, or as the Thai expression: “Sabai Sabai”. The warmth and easiness is naturally absorbed and it is infectious.

A reputation

Chok Chai Si (Chok Chai 4) is the name of a street, an inner vein of one of Bangkok’s largest District – Ladphrao. Tourists who have heard of Ladphrao may associate it with its neighbors: Chatuchak and Or-Tor-Ko markets. Expats may associate Ladphrao with the immigration office at Imperial World. And Thai people may associate Ladphrao with heavy traffic.

Rightfully so, Chok Chai Si has earned its own reputation. So mentioning Ladphrao is needless. The hood is stretches over miles of land and close to a hundred street blocks. Architecturally, it possesses all the qualities a Thai urban panorama.

It is a mixed bag of Thailand’s finest and unique cultural symbols, both traditional and modern. Or, in other words…a mix and match (more so not match) of: shop houses, street vendors, fancy shopping areas, shabby modest and luxurious homes, large busy and tiny narrow streets, bridges and canals, and beautiful Buddhist temples.

Jao Me Kuam Im Temple

But there is a sense of intimacy that is not felt in many other areas I’ve been to in Bangkok. Imagine living in a suburb or countryside and having to go out to the big city either for work or a special occasion. Do you remember the best part of the entire day was the moment you entered back into your hood? Have you ever felt the sense of relief accompanied with the comforting thought: “finally home”?

I wonder if that is the same feeling that is portrayed through the common Thai phrase “Sabai Jai”, which  literally translates to comfortable heart. Sabai Jai – an expression that the heart is in a good place.

Authentic Thailand

Just recently, I began to notice a subtle influx of a select crowd of Foreigners in the hood. Some are expatriates, like myself. And some are travelers or backpackers who steer clear from the touristy crowd seeking authentic Thai experiences and hospitality.

Possibly local Thai in the hood have yet to develop an immune system to travelers. After all, travelers, especially westerners, may at times possess an overbearing attitude, even unintentionally. And major tourist attractions like Sukhumvit, Silom, Sathorn, Thong Lor and Khao San is where many Thai have become accustomed to earning off tourism, thus adopting some individualistic consumerism mannerism.


I’ve lived in the hood for almost four years. So I may be slightly biased. Local vendors have become part of an extended family so there is a natural sense of friendliness in the air. Nevertheless, I’ve talked to many expatriates who have lived in Bangkok for a longer time in so-called “expat areas” like Sukhumvit, Silom and Sathorn, who cannot testify to the sense of belonging or relate to these homely experiences. Experiences like when P’Daeng, the lady from Isaan who sets up a daily wagon cart for making Som Taam, (Papaya salad), Larb Plaa Duk (catfish salad), and Naam Tok Muu (grilled pork salad) puts a pestle in my hand and instructs me to stir the som tam in the mortar. Or, Luung (elderly uncle), who has been selling Khao Man Gai (chicken over rice) for over 50 years adds extra pieces of chicken in my takeaway wrap and smiles at me as if I was his favorite granddaughter.

The Chok Chai Si hood guarantees authenticity and abundance in real Thai flavors. This map samples just a small fraction of what the hood has to offer. Can I guarantee heartfelt moments? Well, there is a truth to be said that in order for someone to open their heart to you, you may just need to unleash yours first. The wider your heart is, the more room there is to receive. This formula may work anywhere and anytime. It isn’t exclusive to the hood. But what’s special about Chok Chai Si is the purity of an unspoiled Thai heart that allows those moments to happen effortlessly.

 


 

Chok Chai 4 road is the central vein. The experience of the hood stretches through the parallel Ladphrao 71 street (also known as Nak Niwat) on the east border, and the parallel Wanghin Road on the West border and the perpendicular Sena Nikhom street on the North end .

 

#Authentic Thailand, # off the beaten path, #Ladphrao