One of the most memorable restaurants from my childhood has gone under, literally. Over the weekend, the iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant sank as it was being towed away from Hong Kong. The 260-foot, three-story restaurant capsized and sunk. It’s now sitting over 1000 meters under the South China Sea.
For nearly five decades, Jumbo Floating Restaurant has been a Hong Kong landmark. It opened at Aberdeen Harbor in 1976 and was part of a complex called Jumbo Kingdom. Over the years, the floating restaurant has welcome famous figures like Tom Cruise, Richard Branson and even Queen of England. It also appeared in movies like The Man with The Golden Gun and Contagion.
The pandemic restrictions in Hong Kong forced the restaurant to close in 2020 and Jumbo’s owner, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, said it could not afford the upkeep and offered to donate the building to a local theme park. The hong Kong government was initially on board, but the plan ultimately fell through.
On June 14, Aberdeen sent the restaurant out of Hong Kong for maintenance and storage. However, before it could complete its journey, Jumbo began to tip, and it went down in a part of the South China Sea where the water is more than 1000 meters deep, making it impossible to recover. Fortunately, no one was injured in the disaster.
Reactions to the sinking have been mixed. Some say that it’s a continuing decline of Hong Kong’s visible symbols, while others are glad Jumbo is no longer around since it played into Asian stereotypes. One thing that is certain. Hong Kong has lost one of its most recognizable dining landmarks, and I will miss it.