I hate going into London (too busy, loud, stinky) and hate driving in London even more (too busy, no one seems to pay any attention to even the basic driving rules) but I was starting to run low on the stash of seaweed and other Asian delights that I picked up on my visit to Exeter this summer so a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do - jump in the car and head to the North Circular!
Now I've known about Wing Yip for some time now as my colleague/Asian food buddy told me about it a while ago and has brought in tasty seaweed snacks so I knew what I was missing by not having visited yet. My kilner jar of wakame was looking low so thought a visit would be a good way to spend an overcast Saturday afternoon.
Wing Yip Cricklewood opened in 1988 although Mr Wing Yip first opened a store in 1970 so it's a pretty well (and obviously loved!) company. The Cricklewood branch is near Staples Corner and couldn't be further away from the retail park type building - think traditional Chinese buildings from a picture book!
As I pulled into the underground parking I knew I was in for a treat as not only did they have large trollies, they had the type you get at Ikea for larger items. I went for the smaller of the two so that I wouldn't be tempted to over shop....
The smell as the lift opened into the shop was amazing - there was a cooking demonstration by the entrance and the restaurant at the far end seemed to be in full swing for lunch (judging by the queue!). I wheeled my trolly round to the first section - the sauces!
I had no idea there were so many different types of soy sauces! Light, dark, thick, thin, salty, sweet...
Not to mention how many different chilli oils...
And I was excited to see that Wing Yip actually have their own brand of sauces.
On the back wall of the shop is the fresh fish counter which had beautifully presented fish on ice as well as a few tanks with fish, eels and lobster.
Need any dishes? It's a very small area but so many different shaped bowls, spoons, plates...
The middle of the shop has aisles and aisles of spices, noodles, snacks, canned vegetables and everything else you could possibly want!
In the back corner there is a doorway - my colleague had warned me about this - the bulk food area! Wow. I know restaurants buy in bulk but it was so impressive to see food in such large quantities! Although seeing barrels of oils and what looked like a large jerrycan of soy sauce, the vinegar was my favourite. Think giant wine box but full of vinegar, complete with those nifty taps!
Back into the shop and to the refrigerated section. This is probably the area that had the most unknown ingredients for me so spent a lot of time having a good nose around. So many different types of fish balls, pork balls and sausage, unusual cuts of meat and some very interesting looking vegetables. I was very happy to see that they had deep fried tofu which is just like the tofu I order from a takeaway.
My final stop was the freezer section. Such a good selection of ingredients! Put it this way, there was an entire aisle devoted to shrimp and prawns!
So. Many. Gyoza!!!!!
And so many different types of dumpling wrappers! I usually make my own but really wanted some shop bought ones to see what they're like.
I couldn't find any single mooncakes but loved the giant box!
I headed to the (busy) tills and couldn't wait to get my stash home! Shirley scanned my things through while Coco packed everything away perfectly in my new re-usable Wing Yip bag. I was pretty impressed that although I felt I bought a massive amount, the quantity that I paid was really very reasonable so great value for money!
Ok, I'll admit now that at the beginning of this post I said I was running low on my supplies but that might have been a little white lie. I am getting low on my wakame but still have quite a bit left on other ingredients. I didn't unpack anything until Mr Jones went out this evening because it would mean a bit of re-arrangment of my food cupboard...It mostly fits. Sort of. Except for the things that are in the bottom drawer....
So obviously tonight's dinner is entirely made up of things I bought today...pork and chive gyoza, fish cakes, deep fried tofu with Wing Yip mushroom sauce and seaweed salad!
Wing Yip Online Store
Wing Yip (Cricklewood)
395 Edgware Rd
(check website for Manchester, Birmingham and Croydon branches)