Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a famed but ageing tourist attraction that featured in multiple Cantonese and Hollywood films, was towed out of the city on Tuesday (Jun 14) after years of revitalisation efforts went nowhere.
The buoyant behemoth, which at 76m long could house 2,300 diners, set out shortly before noon from the southern Hong Kong Island typhoon shelter where it has sat for nearly half a century.
Designed like a Chinese imperial palace and once considered a must-see landmark, the restaurant drew visitors from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise, and featured in several films – including Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, about a deadly global pandemic.
The lavish restaurant’s operators cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for finally closing its doors in March 2020, after around a decade of financial woes.
Restaurant owner Melco International Development announced last month that ahead of its licence expiration in June, Jumbo would leave Hong Kong and await a new operator at an undisclosed location.
Under overcast skies, a scattered group of onlookers gathered on the Aberdeen waterfront to see it be dragged away.
Watching the restaurant’s ponderous progress across the shelter waters was Mr Wong, a 60-year-old man who told AFP he had come specially to see its departure.
“The exterior was for many years a symbol of Hong Kong,” he said, adding he had eaten there once 20 years ago.
“I believe it will come back and I look forward to it.”
Opened in 1976 by the late casino tycoon Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant embodied the height of luxury, reportedly costing over HK$30 million (US$3.8 million) to build.
It featured a “dragon throne” in the style of the Ming dynasty as well as an opulent mural, according to the South China Morning Post.
The restaurant’s berth in Aberdeen harbour was traditionally a hotspot for seafood eateries – and fierce competition for customers only cooled when Jumbo’s operators acquired its biggest competitor, Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, in the 1980s.
In a sign of its dilapidation, on Jun 1, Jumbo’s kitchen boat listed into the water after a suspected hull breach, tilting almost 90 degrees.
The derelict kitchen boat will be left behind, according to local media.
Watch videos and photos of Robren’s last visit to Jumbo: https://www.facebook.com/WhispererRobertChaen/posts/1373694142797400
@NFT Heritage: Preserving our glorious heritages!
Editor’s Note: This article was published in CNA on 14 June 2022.
#RobrenReview: 8 | 10
Published: 18 June 2022.
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Link to this article: https://tinyurl.com/JumboHK1
Hong Kong’s iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant towed away from Aberdeen after 46 years
Hong Kong’s famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant towed away after half a century