Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wing Yip Chinese supermarket (Cricklewood ) - not really worth the trip

She picked up the Prima Taste Laksa pack from my shopping trolley without uttering a word and started to examine it. I was stupefied. It’s not every day when a stranger picks up an item from your trolley along a supermarket aisle. I could have politely asked how I could help her but I was equally prepared simply to run in the opposite direction with my remaining fourteen Prima Taste packs.


After a long spell of awkward silence, I was just about to beat a retreat in the opposite direction when she mumbled in Cantonese, ”Is this good?” Erm, I am not sure actually, that’s why I am getting all fifteen packs to find out. I merely nodded my head. Undeterred, she asks, “Is this cheap?”. I shrugged nonchalantly and started to push the trolley along. She got the idea and mercifully released the Prima Taste Laksa back into the safety of my trolley.

Earlier that day, Wife and I decided to take a trip down to the famed Wing Yip at Cricklewood. It is said to be the largest Oriental supermarket in London offering greater variety of wares compared to what is available in Chinatown at a cheaper price too.

An hour later (navigating through London is always hell even on a good day), we finally stumbled into Wing Yip. The building looks like something right out from a Chinese periodic drama with pagoda towers and all. You can’t really miss it.

The ground floor is dominated by the supermarket, which reminded me of a larger version of the now defunct Oriental City at Colindale. Rows and rows of instant food, cooking sauces, savoury and snacks, frozen meat and seafood, kitchenware and it even has its own fresh fish counter that will put any Waitrose branch to shame.


However, one thing that we noticed immediately was that while there was a huge selection at Wing Yip (the entire Prima Taste selection was available for one), the prices were actually comparable (if not a tad more expensive) for those also available in the Chinatown supermarkets. That said, the prices will be more competitive if you buy in bulk for there is a huge warehouse accessible through a huge gate on one end of the main supermarket floor.


We got a bit carried away towards the end I guess. A Singaporean lady who was behind us at checkout counter wondered how we could possibly finish everything before the expiry dates. Suffice to say that our menu for the next couple of months would revolve around laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, beef rendang and chicken curry.

We did manage to try out the Wing Yip restaurant for dinner before heading home that night. While its roast meat selection was nothing like Four Seasons, its seafood horfun (san xian chao he) was rather decent and prices are reasonable as well (around £15 pp). Interestingly, Lee’s Travel has set up shop at Wing Yip as well. From the billboard strategically placed at Wing Yip’s entrance, its prices are lower than those advertised on Singapore Airline’s website. So do check it out if you’re there.

One thing is for sure though, we wouldn't be in a hurry to return to Wing Yip; unless you're pooling purchases with a couple of others or own a fridge the size of a room, the trip all the way there from Central London just wouldn't make economic sense. Wing Yip operates an online delivery service as well and that makes makes more sense even with the delivery charge factored in.

Wing Yip
395 Edgware Road, Cricklewood 
London NW2 6LN 
Tel: 020 8450 0422

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William K Wallace said...

I have travelled past Wing Yip numerous times without ever really giving a second thought as to what was inside. My fridge or freezer couldn't cope with bulk buys.

I may go try out the restaurant at some point in the future.

kyh said...

15 packs in one go? Woah!

But if I were to go for a curry meal, I'd get those curry paste from Indian stores rather than these packaged stuff. :)

C K said...

You can't miss it, can you? :)

As I mentioned, restaurant's rather decent. I'm not sure whether you are into flat rice vermicelli (or "horfan"). The dish isn't too bad over there.

Haha, the thing is that I'm not sure whether I can get those curry paste over here in the first place... used to get it from a wet market back home when I was a kid.