Jumbo Kingdom

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Jumbo Kingdom
JumboKingdomLogo.png
Overlook Jumbo Floating Restaurant.jpg
Jumbo Kingdom in 2017
Restaurant information
Established19 October 1976
Closed3 March 2020 (Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsized on 19 June 2022 after leaving Hong Kong)
Owner(s)Stanley Ho
Food typeCantonese, dim sum, Western
Street addressShum Wan Pier Drive, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
CountryHong Kong
Coordinates22°14′35.5″N 114°9′43.2″E / 22.243194°N 114.162000°E / 22.243194; 114.162000Coordinates: 22°14′35.5″N 114°9′43.2″E / 22.243194°N 114.162000°E / 22.243194; 114.162000
Seating capacity2300
WebsiteOfficial website
Jumbo Kingdom
Traditional Chinese珍寶王國
Literal meaningTreasure Kingdom
Jumbo Floating Restaurant
Traditional Chinese珍寶海鮮舫
Tai Pak Floating Restaurant
Traditional Chinese太白海鮮舫

Jumbo Kingdom (Chinese: 珍寶王國) consisted of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant (Chinese: 珍寶海鮮舫) and the adjacent Tai Pak Floating Restaurant (Chinese: 太白海鮮舫), which were renowned tourist attractions in Aberdeen South Typhoon Shelter, within Hong Kong's Aberdeen Harbour. During its 44 years of operation, over thirty million visitors visited Jumbo Kingdom, including Queen Elizabeth II, Jimmy Carter, Tom Cruise, Chow Yun Fat, and Gong Li.[1] A subsidiary, Jumbo Kingdom Manila, also operated in Manila Bay, Philippines, but it was closed after eight years of operation. Jumbo Kingdom was part of Melco International Development Limited, a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It suspended operations in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 14 June 2022, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant was towed out of Hong Kong to Cambodia to await a new operator.[2][3] While transiting in the South China Sea, it experienced bad weather and capsized near the Paracel Islands on 19 June 2022. Its operator denied describing it as sunk.[4]

History[edit]

The Jumbo Kingdom was established in October 1976 by Stanley Ho after four years and over HK$30 million were spent to design and build it.[1][5] It was originally decorated in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace.[6] In 1980, Ho purchased Tai Pak and in 1982, Ho purchased Sea Palace.[7] During the 1980s, Jumbo Kingdom included Jumbo, Tai Pak, and Sea Palace.[7] In 2000, the Sea Palace was towed to Manila Bay and rebranded as "Jumbo Kingdom Manila".[8] Much of the original ancient Chinese imperial palace style renovation was retained. The Manila restaurant closed in 2008.[8]

Tai Pak Floating Restaurant[edit]

Tai Pak Floating Restaurant in 2007

The Tai Pak Floating Restaurant was established in 1952,[9] when Wong Lo-kat purchased a boat and transformed it into a floating restaurant spanning 32 m (105 ft) in length.[5] Six years later, Tai Pak was extended to accommodate 800 guests.[7] The second Tai Pak floating restaurant operated from Castle Peak, now Tuen Mun, and sold off and relocated to Guangxi in the 1980s.[10][verification needed]

Jumbo Floating Restaurant[edit]

Wong ordered the construction of a second restaurant, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, by the Kowloon Chung Hwa shipyard, at the price of HK$14 million.[11] On 30 October 1971,[9] a four-alarm fire occurred at the restaurant before its opening which left 34 dead and 42 injured.[12][13][14] It had to be rebuilt after new owners Stanley Ho and Cheng Yu-ting bought the title to the remaining assets in July 1972. After five more years and HK$30 million, the restaurant began operation.[11] During the 1980s and 90s, the restaurant was often one of the destinations for foreign tourists. Even though most locals knew that the best food was not served there, its exotic oriental atmosphere helped it become a unique symbol that is somewhat Hong Kongese yet not entirely so.[11]

The restaurant intermittently suspended operations after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[11] It went through a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2003, resulting in a total area of 4,200 m2 (45,000 sq ft) and a seating capacity of 2,300 diners.[15][16]

On 1 March 2020, the restaurant announced it would be closed until further notice and laid off all staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17]

According to the November 2020 Hong Kong policy address, the operator of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant agreed to donate the boat to Ocean Park Hong Kong as part of the Invigorating Island South project.[18][19] On 12 March 2021, it was reported that the plan to reactivate the restaurant had been shelved.[20] Other proposals to preserve it, such as relocating onto land or converting to a Bruce Lee museum, were all met with objections. The Hong Kong Jockey Club did not comment following a suggestion for it to take in the boat. The Antiquities Advisory Board stated that because ships are not covered under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, they cannot be evaluated for conservation.[21]

2022 capsizing[edit]

Back of Jumbo Kingdom. Kitchen block in 2012.

According to the parent company Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises (ARE), the Jumbo Floating Restaurant had been unprofitable since 2013 and has accumulated losses exceeding HK$100 million.[22] On 30 May 2022, the company announced that the restaurant would leave Hong Kong in June 2022. ARE's offers to donate it were not successful as all interested parties cited high operating costs, which can run in the millions of Hong Kong dollars annually.[18] Because its operating licence with the Marine Department was due to expire, and there was no berth available, it was decided for the restaurant to be towed out of Hong Kong and wait for better prospects.[23] At roughly 11pm on 31 May, the kitchen boat of the restaurant began listing following a hull breach. It happened as preparations were being made to tow the restaurant.[24] It was eventually towed out of Hong Kong on 14 June, though the kitchen boat and Tai Pak were left behind.[25] The destination was Cambodia according to the Marine Department, but this has not been confirmed by ARE.[26] The company said that before the tow, the restaurant was inspected, hoardings were installed, and all relevant approvals were obtained.[22]

On 18 June 2022, while being towed in the South China Sea, the restaurant experienced bad weather and began listing. Despite rescue efforts, it fully capsized the next day near the Paracel Islands in waters over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) deep.[11] Amidst speculations that the boat had sunk, the Hong Kong Marine Department requested a report from ARE. ARE issued a statement saying that the tug and restaurant were still in the waters and that it had always used the term "capsized", not "sunk".[4][22] Lawmakers in Hong Kong are requesting an investigation of the South Korean tug boat company to determine whether there was human error or malpractice involved.[27] The company, which employed a South Korean crew, has denied allegations of foul play.[28] In 2021, the same tugboat, Jaewon 9, was involved in an incident where the vessel that it was towing sank after the towing line broke.[29] Following the restaurant's capsizing, commentators from the fishing and shipbuilding industries pointed out that the its superstructure has multiple stories, making the boat top heavy. Towing it outside the Aberdeen Typhoon Shelters in the high seas therefore deserved extra caution.[30] Tourism lawmaker Perry Yiu Pak-leung said the loss was also of the city's heritage, adding that the "government, conservationists, historians and the commercial sector should be working together to protect" historic sites but everyone had "stalled too long."[27]

Attractions[edit]

Dragon Court restaurant.
Tea shop at ground floor
  • Roof Deck: An alfresco banquet hall located on the top deck of Jumbo serving fine Western food.[31][32]
  • Dragon Court: Dragon Court was a fine dining Chinese restaurant located on the first deck of Jumbo. The interior design of the restaurant is a mixture of Ming Dynasty and contemporary Chinese.[33]
  • Shum Wan Pier Garden: Outdoor venue for wedding and cocktail receptions.[34]

A staff canteen was located on the fourth floor of Jumbo Kingdom, named So-Kee Coffee Shop (蘇記茶檔), that served Hong Kong cuisine including noodles and street food.[35] The boat also housed a cooking academy and facilities for conference and banqueting.[32]

In popular culture[edit]

Access[edit]

Transport boat to the restaurant.

The Jumbo Kingdom was formerly accessed via a free shuttle boat from Aberdeen Promenade or from Sham Wan pier.[40][41]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jumbo Kingdom. "A Celebrated Landmark". Archived from the original on 19 December 2016. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
  2. ^ "'Great loss to Hong Kong': iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant leaves city". South China Morning Post. 14 June 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Residents bid farewell to Jumbo Floating Restaurant - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b Magramo, Kathleen. "Owners of Jumbo Floating Restaurant backtrack on sinking claims as authorities investigate". CNN.
  5. ^ a b Mok, Laramie (25 March 2020). "Hong Kong's Jumbo floating restaurants: a stroll down memory lane". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Imperial-style Jumbo to vanish from Aberdeen waters - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "Hong Kong's Jumbo floating restaurants: a stroll down memory lane". South China Morning Post. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Hong Kong's Jumbo floating restaurants: a stroll down memory lane". South China Morning Post. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d "Hong Kong (& Macau) Stuff: "Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, Aberdeen"". Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  10. ^ "The mystery of the Tai Pak floating restaurant". Susan Blumberg-Kason. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e 聯合新聞網. "誰的香港記憶?「珍寶海鮮舫」錯愕的南海沉沒記". 轉角國際 udn Global (in Chinese). Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  12. ^ "調查報告書指出 珍寶大火起於燒焊 此慘劇死傷達七十六人". Ta Kung Pao. 25 May 1972.(in Chinese)
  13. ^ NFPA.org. "NFPA.org Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine." Key dates in fire history. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
  14. ^ England, Vaudine (1998). The Quest of Noel Croucher: Hong Kong's Quiet Philanthropist. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-962-209-473-4.
  15. ^ Chan, Cherry. "Jumbo Floating Restaurant bids Hong Kong goodbye next month". Time Out Hong Kong. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Hong Kong's iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant to get a facelift". South China Morning Post. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  17. ^ Standard, The. "Virus shutters Jumbo Kingdom". The Standard. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  18. ^ a b Interactive, Marketing. "Jumbo floating restaurant exits Hong Kong due to cost crunch". Marketing Interactive. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  19. ^ 陳, 曉瑩; 郭, 詩詩 (25 November 2020). "【施政報告2020】港府8招打造南區成消閒玩樂處 制定海洋公園重生方案活化珍寶海鮮舫". 香港經濟日報. Retrieved 27 June 2022.
  20. ^ "劉鳴煒出席區議會解說海洋公園新定位 稱會尋相同理念外判商". 獨立媒體. 12 March 2021.
  21. ^ "古蹟條例不包船隻 珍寶海鮮舫無法評級". 獨立媒體. 2 June 2022.
  22. ^ a b c "Mystery deepens as owners say Hong Kong floating restaurant has not sunk". the Guardian. 24 June 2022. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  23. ^ "活化泡湯 珍寶海鮮舫下月離港". www.bastillepost.com. 30 May 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Jumbo Floating Restaurant's kitchen boat listing into waters of Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter". The Standard. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  25. ^ "Hong Kong's famed floating restaurant Jumbo towed away after half a century". The Straits Times. 14 June 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  26. ^ 王潔恩, 梁祖饒, 李穎霖, 呂穎姍 (22 June 2022). "01獨家・沉船位置曝光|珍寶海鮮舫遠洋拖船 西沙附近不尋常徘徊". 香港01 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  27. ^ a b CNN, Kathleen Magramo. "Owners of Jumbo Floating Restaurant backtrack on sinking claims as authorities investigate". CNN. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Hong Kong Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsizing: towing firm rejects foul play claims". South China Morning Post. 24 June 2022. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  29. ^ "Tugboat that pulled Hong Kong's Jumbo restaurant to watery demise involved in separate sinking last year". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 22 June 2022. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  30. ^ am730. "珍寶海鮮舫沉入大海 議員促負責人交代". am730 (in Chinese). Retrieved 30 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Jumbo Kingdom - Roof Deck" (PDF).
  32. ^ a b c d "ABERDEEN - HONG KONG EXTRAS3". www.hongkongextras.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Jumbo Kingdom - Dragon Court" (PDF).
  34. ^ "Jumbo Kingdom - Shum Wan Pier Gardens" (PDF).
  35. ^ "蘇記茶檔". OpenRice. Retrieved 17 June 2022.(in Chinese)
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Films and video games that feature Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant". South China Morning Post. 2 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  37. ^ a b "Hong Kong Cinemagic - Mapping Hong Kong film locations". www.hkcinemagic.com. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  38. ^ "特撮特化 - その他まとめ海外編 (Special Effects - Overseas Scenes. In Japanese)". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  39. ^ Shindle, Kim (30 November 2010). "'The Amazing Race' contestants find 'fake' Chinese food". pennlive. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  40. ^ Welcome to 18 Districts: Southern District
  41. ^ "Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant | Hong Kong, China Restaurants". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 18 June 2022.

External links[edit]