Tung Nan is one of the ancient Chinese restaurants of Karachi from the time when Chinese cuisine was all the rage in this coastal city. Back then eating out meant going for barbeque or Chinese. Simple times.
Times have changed dramatically since then. Now you’ve the choice of a plethora of cuisines and restaurants to choose from – Italian, Thai, Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese, you name it.
Chinese cuisine may have lost favor with the rich and elite, but it still resonates strongly with the classes just below it. The result – most of the Chinese restaurants based in the vicinity of Tariq Road for more than decades are alive and well, some in fact doing roaring business.
Tung Nan is located in a side lane of Tariq Road in between English Boot House and Zahid Nihari. Just across it is another old-timer Hong Kong.
We tried both Hong Kong and Tung Nan after more than a decade. Hong Kong was a disappointment with all the Chinese dishes reeking strongly of Pakistani touch.
Tung Nan on the other hand was a pleasant surprise. Smaller in size compared to Hong Kong which is quite big for a Chinese restaurant, it has a soothing ambiance very much what you would expect from a restaurant of this category- dark interior and all.
We ordered the usual dishes that we test at every Chinese joint- Hot n Sour soup as appetizer, followed by chicken fried rice, chicken chowmein, beef chilli, spring roll, fried prawn and sweet n sour prawn.
The hot n sour soup wasn’t the best that we’ve had at a Chinese joint, but it wasn’t bad either. To be fair, it was sufficiently loaded with all the goodies including prawns.
The rest of the stuff was some of the best you’ll ever have at a Chinese joint. Although none of us know what authentic Chinese cuisine does taste like, Tung Nan’s offerings were at par with the taste created by the giants of this category back in the 80s, if you consider that taste to be the barometer for judging authentic Chinese cuisine.
People who prefer less salt and spices are specially going to be thrilled by Tung Nan’s recipes. In this respect at least, Tung Nan is staying true to the Chinese roots. This is a healthy breakaway from the existing trend where most Chinese restaurants load their offerings with salt and spices.
Quantity-wise Tung Nan is just above average. In some dishes, it offers generous helpings like the fried rice but in others like sweet and sour prawns, quantity could definitely be improved upon.
All in all Tung Nan is a good place to have a quaint Chinese meal with your family at a price that is competitive with the other Chinese joints. A meal for five would cost around Rs.2,000 with everyone getting sufficiently stuffed.