Admirers watched helplessly as the iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant was towed away from Aberdeen Harbor in Hong Kong on June 14.
Founded in October 1976, Jumbo Floating Restaurant became the second floating restaurant in the Jungle Kingdom after Tai Pak Floating Restaurant was opened in 1952, burned down in 1971 and remodeled in 1987. The late Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun invested millions to create Jumbo Floating Restaurant and its artwork, dragons and colorful pagoda heavily inspired by Imperial China. Both restaurants were renovated in 2003.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant offered Chinese banquet-style fine dining and was known for their Cantonese cuisine and seafood dishes. The venue boasted more than 45,000 square feet over three floors and had the capacity to accommodate 2,300 diners.
For the past 46 years, the landmark has served over 30 million guests since opening in 1976, including Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise and Gong Li.
During the start of the pandemic in 2020, the tourist attraction was shut down and all of its staff dismissed. Shareholders spent millions of Hong Kong dollars just for inspection and maintenance despite the restaurant never opening its doors due to COVID-19 regulations.
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, the restaurant’s parent company, was unable to reopen the establishment and did not find another company willing to maintain Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
The front barge of Jumbo Floating Restaurant started sinking on May 31, and the Hong Kong government said they had no intention to use taxpayer money to keep the attraction.
This past Tuesday, many fans of the iconic restaurant stood on Aberdeen Harbor in Hong Kong to watch it be towed away.
One admirer of the landmark said on Instagram, “Jumbo Floating Restaurant era is over. The classic symbol of Hong Kong sailed away because this beautiful white elephant couldn’t survive through covid pandemic.”
Another user posted a photo overlooking the floating icon from a nearby balcony, captioned, “Tugboats started mooring it away around noon towards the southern waters, it was saddening to bid farewell to this #floatingrestaurant. It has been a part of Hong Kong since I can remember. I remember visiting the restaurant with my grandparents when I came to Hong Kong to visit them over summer.”
An artist shared their drawing of Jumbo Floating Restaurant in memory of the tragic events, commenting, “It seems sad to me that it’s falling apart and being towed away. Would have been lovely to keep it and turn it into some sort of heritage museum…Even Godzilla didn’t damage it!”
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises has not revealed Jumbo Floating Restaurant’s new destination.