Tung Nan- The Chinese Restaurant

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.

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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.

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3 thoughts on “Tung Nan- The Chinese Restaurant”

  1. Last night we were there; wife and kids. We liked the environment and the location was also serene compared to the commotion of the main Tariq road. I ordered fish & chips, Chicken Chowmein with veggies, fried prawns, chicken fried rice, sizzler chicken with pineapple (w/o veggies). I approve of all of this menu except Fried Prawn as it was not properly cooked from within, felt tacky and mushy stuff around the baby prawn hardly visible. The kind person tending to my table offered to redo this item but I declines due to time constraints. Recommended, and I’d try more items next time. Thanks for the detailed review since it led me to choose Tung Nan as my first Chinese eat out after a very very long time.

    1. No, it’s across the street from yuang tung, that is on the side of Tariq Road where you’ve Zahid Nihari, Borjam, EBH and all. In fact, there’s a side lane adjacent to ( I think) Servis, in which you’ll first find Hong Kong on the right side and just a few furlongs ahead on the left is Tung Nan.

      Hong Kong I wouldn’t exactly recommend because I had a torrid time there, and not just because of the food. I took an aunt of mine who had come to visit us from Canada. Now I’ve no idea of what sort of chinese stuff she’s used to consuming back in Canada, but she went ballistic at Hong Kong’s offerings right then and there, and still continued devouring the food!

      The waiters, in fact the entire management was staring at her hysterics as we were seated literally next to the counter and I was like sinking lower and lower in my chair waiting for the earth to open up and swallow me……..

      So I can’t objectively analyze Hong Kong after this episode and you’ll have to find out on your own.

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