Cover Photo: Courtesy of Michal Osmenda

The traditional Cantonese banquet venue and tourist landmark shuts its doors after more than four decades

Celebrated by locals and tourists alike for over four decades, Aberdeen’s Jumbo Kingdom suddenly announced its closure this month, ending the era of floating restaurants with a legacy to remember.  

It all began with 1952, when renowned herbal tea brand Wanglaoji’s founder Wong Lo-Kat opened Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, which was destroyed in a fire in 1971. In October 1976, Stanley Ho founded the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, spending millions over the construction of the landmark with style inspired by Imperial Chinese art murals, dragon statues and pagoda structures throughout the venue. In 1987, the original Tai Pak Restaurant joined the Jumbo Kingdom at the height of its popularity, while both restaurants have undergone renovation and refurbishments in 2003 for a renewed image.  

Frequented by locals, Jumbo Kingdom has been a multi-purpose venue that covers fine dining establishment Dragon Court, a cooking academy, and Top Deck, a rooftop bar and restaurant formerly operated by Café Deco Group. Its multi-purpose function rooms and large banquet halls remained a favourite for esteemed banquets, parties and events such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Art Basel party in 2018. The iconic venue has also been a popular featured in local cinema including Infernal Affairs II and Stephen Chow’s The God Of Cookery. 
 

The floating restaurants announced its suspension of service on March 1, 2020, ending its legacy in local Chinese banquet-style fine dining for more than four decades.