Hong Kong loves Jumbo Kingdom, the world’s largest floating restaurant

Residents gathered on the beach to pay their last respects to the floating restaurant.

At about 260 feet tall, the large Jumbo Floating Restaurant is famous for its green and red neon signs that read “foon ying gwong lam,” Chinese for “welcome.” In its heyday it was part of the largest floating restaurant in the world.

For nearly half a century, it is the largest ship in the Jumbo Kingdom, which includes the older and younger sister Tai Pak (since 1952), a ship for seagoing tanks, kitchen vessel 130 feet long and eight. small boats take visitors from two nearby ports.

In recent years, Jumbo Floating Restaurant has been the only company that has built and opened food.

“Jumbo Floating Restaurant left Hong Kong today,” Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited, the company that owns and operates Jumbo Kingdom, said in a statement released after the towing ended.

“A unique symbol for locals and tourists alike, Jumbo Floating Restaurant has stood proudly in the Southern part of Hong Kong for the past 46 years.

“We truly thank all of you for your love and care. We take this opportunity to send you our best wishes for the future,” the statement said. .

Remembers an icon

CNN Travel visited the restaurant in 2018 – taking a look at its ocean liner, its large restaurant ship and its beautiful, unseen floor and chat with some of its longest serving staff.

He was a close friend of CNN’s Hong Kong office. One day, Jumbo Kingdom became a favorite subject to be picked up from the office windows.

The restaurant looks tired, compared to its beautiful days, but still exudes an ancient beauty of the world.

The proximity to the floating restaurant – which can only be reached via a special Jumbo -branded boat – is one of the world’s largest restaurant gates.

Upon arrival, you will see the front of the Imperial-style façade with comforts covering the entire wall, large paintings on the staircase and a large number of Chinese-colored masterpieces with a gold throne. at the restaurant.

Covered in neon lights, a Hong Kong -based business began to disappear during the new city era.
A young Kenny Chan who stood at Jumbo in the 1990s.

A young Kenny Chan who stood at Jumbo in the 1990s.

Thanks to Seayou Explorer Travel Limited

“Jumbo was the place chosen for the dim sum for us. Jumbo was also the most thoughtful since my parents and I hosted our wedding party there. Wedding party at Jumbo,” said Kenny Chan , the founder of Seayou Explorer Travel Limited.

Chan’s parents were part of a fishing village family living at the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter. His wife grew up on the ship.

“I always remember how happy I was, when I was a kid, every time I had the chance to jump on a sampan and visit Jumbo. It wasn’t just driving – we thought we would we’re going to the palace. There’s no one else. somewhere in Hong Kong that can express the same feeling. “

Those fond memories of his childhood in the fishing village of Aberdeen by the harbor inspired him to acquire Seayou in 2018. The company offers private rental services and a traditional sampan tour called Aberdeen 1773 Cultural Tour included a holiday in the Jumbo Kingdom before his departure.

“Jumbo’s cultural, symbolic and tourism values ​​are important and can’t be counted … We understand that it’s difficult to maintain Jumbo. We’re just sad to see the government being threatened in his own design. [to invigorate the neighborhood] set for 2020 and their decision to ‘not stick’ [in Jumbo’s fate]”said Chan.

Members of the Chan family attended a wedding reception in Jumbo in 2010.

Members of the Chan family attended a wedding reception in Jumbo in 2010.

Thanks to Seayou Explorer Travel Limited

It’s an amazing thing floating around

In its golden days, the restaurant ship was starred in local and international films such as “Enter the Dragon” (featuring Bruce Lee in front of Tai Pak), “Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge”. “a me Stephen Chow’s comedy” God of Cookery. ”

It is a “must have” for visiting celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Jimmy Carter, Chow Yun Fat, Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Cruise.

“The restaurant on this scale is the most unique in the world. It shows Hong Kong’s close relationship and history with the sea,” said Charles Lai, author and founder of Hong Kong Kong Architectural History.

“Someone downplayed his design emphasis because it was just‘ faux ’imperial design but I don’t agree – it’s an interesting attempt. [at] the transformation of a boat [into] an ancient Chinese palace. If we look at the historical context, it was built at a time when this Chinese beauty was not promoted to imperialism in China (“Old Things” to be unveiled during the Cultural Revolution). Therefore, Jumbo Kingdom considered how much the Chinese in Hong Kong loved these ancient Chinese traditions. “

Jumbo Kingdom_Nightview

The view of the restaurant at night is illuminated by its famous neon lights.

by the Jumbo Government

The end of an era

Of course, his golden years did not last.

As the number of fishermen in Aberdeen’s harbor declined, the popularity of Jumbo Kingdom with locals and tourists diminished.

The company reported that the restaurant has been in short supply since 2013. Covid-19 disease and the city’s closure were the last resort.

In March 2020, the restaurant’s owners said they had collected more than HKD100 million ($ 13 million) in losses and announced that the restaurant would be closed until further notice.

Some suggestions were made for preserving the historical image, but its high cost of preservation deterred publishers.

The Hong Kong government was reluctant to get involved.

The Antiquities Advisory Board has ruled that the islands – unlike buildings on the land – are not part of the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, which means Jumbo is not eligible for the city’s defense.

With no “white knight” rescuers waiting for the city, the group decided to move the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, the main boat, to an undisclosed dock from Hong Kong before the his license expires this June.

The Tai Pak, the smallest and largest, and now converted kitchen canoe, now stands in the harbor. Nothing is confirmed about the future of these canoes at this time.

No matter what happens, Hong Kong will lose one of its most important – and even more beautiful – crowns.

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