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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #1
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HONG KONG | Lung Moon Restaurant Redevelopment | Com

Wreckers poised to end 60-year reign of Wan Chai dining icon
26 October 2009
South China Morning Post



It was on the harbourfront when it opened 60 years ago. Today, surrounded by high-rises, it is one of the few remaining Cantonese restaurants of that era in the city. But by the end of next month, Lung Moon Restaurant will be rubble.

With red lanterns hung outside its two copper gates, which feature dragons, the restaurant's distinctive vintage appearance contrasts with the rest of bustling Johnston Road in Wan Chai.

Early this month, the operator put up a poster outside the restaurant announcing that it would be closed down by the end of next month, after a developer in July bought the 4,000 square foot, four-storey property for HK$420 million, which was 120 times what the operators paid for it in 1975.

It will be redeveloped into a residential block and shopping mall.

Since news of its closing spread, more people have visited. Some carry cameras to capture its last moments.

The good price for the site was certainly one reason for the sale, but it was also because of the restaurant's dwindling business over the past two decades in the face of keen competition from fast-food shops, the restaurant's managing director, Thomas Tse Kai-yin, said.

In its 1980s heyday, the restaurant operated 24 hours a day and made as much as HK$2.7 million a month.

But since the boom in fast-food culture, the monthly income had fallen to just above HK$1 million, said Tse, 56, who with his brothers took over the restaurant from his father.

"In the old days, there were few cha chaan teng or fast-food shops. Now, they are ubiquitous."

While being behind the times was the restaurant's signature, Tse lamented its being in conflict with the real world. "It is a dilemma," he said. "The old style is the character of Lung Moon, but at the same time it is what makes it less viable - the old style makes it unable to attract younger diners." Its anachronism may have attracted celebrities to throw a catwalk show there, but it has also lost it wedding banquets.

The age of the restaurant, in which stoves were still running on diesel rather than gas, was an obstacle to revamping it. Tse said that the challenge the restaurant now faced was different from those such as the 1973 stock market crisis and the days of water shortages - a disaster for the catering industry - which hard work could get them through.

"It's a trend rather than a one-off challenge," he said. "So finally I decided to close it down."

He said the sale was not one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions. The property had been up for sale for more than 10 years, and it was the first time he thought the price and timing were right to sell.

"Urban redevelopment is something inevitable," he said. "While redevelopment destroys some things, it brings some good new things at the same time."

The closing of the restaurant means that its regular customers, now old, will lose one of their favourite haunts.

Luk Sang, 73, a retired tailor who goes to yum cha at Lung Moon almost every morning, is one of them. He said the inexplicable bond between customers and restaurant staff had made his visit habitual over the past 40 years. "It's a regret that it is going to close down," he said. "I feel I am somehow linked to the Lung Moon in a way I can't explain. It's like I need to sit at the same table every day - I feel uncomfortable if I have to switch to another table.

"Perhaps it's because of the subtle relationship between the customers and the staff. We do not know each other's names, but we talk every day.

"Now I need to try out different restaurants."

And gone will be its signature charcoal-roasted pork and goose, as the restaurant is one of the few that still hold a licence to cook with charcoal. The government has stopped granting such licences.

Tse has decided to give away the rusty cash registers from the 1960s to museums and donate signs inscribed with messages of longevity and joy to old people's homes. But he will keep the dragon gates and an exquisite woodcut for a comeback when he finds a suitable place to house a new-meets-old Lung Moon.
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Old January 28th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #2
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Fans give Wan Chai landmark rowdy send-off
1 December 2009
South China Morning Post

One of the city's few remaining old-style Cantonese restaurants, the 60-year-old Lung Moon Restaurant in Wan Chai, closed down last night after serving a final banquet to a full house of customers.

The music and chat were loud during the evening but along with the sadness at the loss of a beloved establishment, there were grumbles about the cost - customers said the owner had ramped up prices during the last month until dim sum cost almost three times what they had.

The 4,000 sq ft, four-storey restaurant was sold in June to a developer for HK$420 million, 120 times what the owner paid for it in 1975, after its operators said business had dwindled in the face of competition from fast-food shops in the past decade.

Wreckers are expected to clear the site for redevelopment into a residential block and shopping mall.

Yesterday morning, familiar faces sipped tea while hundreds of fresh visitors streamed in to steal a glimpse of the past. People took pictures against the backdrop of the dragon gate and red lanterns at the entrance.

Food fans scrambled to try the signature dishes, such as charcoal-roasted pork, goose and big buns.

Mong Kar-mo, 76, had yum cha at the restaurant yesterday morning as he had every day for the past 15 years. Though he was a bit down about it closing, Mong knew that "all good things must come to an end".

"There are times to say goodbye," he said, savouring his last few bites of turnip cake. "But I will definitely miss this place. I've met many friends here - other customers and the members of staff. If not for this place, we might be strangers."

Sitting next to Mong, Tsang Kam-yuen recalled how they became friends 10 years ago when they shared a table because the restaurant was full and discussed current affairs. "It's like young people like chatting on the internet, we old folks enjoy expressing our opinions here," Tsang said. "We talk and we make friends."

A student who visited the restaurant with a camera lamented its closure. "It's a shame that a special place like this is going to be pulled down," Andrea Lau, 19, said. "I like the old-styled decor."

A newspaper vendor who has operated in front of the restaurant for 49 years recalled that in its heyday in the late 1970s, the restaurant operated 24 hours and diners could rent a newspaper for 50 cents if they did not want to buy it. He will have to fold up his stand when demolition begins.

When the farewell banquet began at 8pm, the restaurant was filled with noise from more than 400 guests and a live band. Diners filled all three floors, a rare scene in recent years.

Managing director Thomas Tse Kai-yin thanked the diners for their support. But some old customers were unhappy that their last impression of their haunt had been sullied by a price rise: a bamboo basket of dim sum cost HK$20 yesterday in the morning session, compared with HK$7 a few months ago.

Tsang Kam-yeun, 80, a regular customer, said: "To be honest, I am a bit disappointed and angry. My feeling is we treat the owner as a friend but he doesn't think the same."

Tse has decided to give away one of three rusty cash registers from the 1960s to the University of Hong Kong and another to the Tao Heung Museum of Food Culture. He will keep the dragon gates and a woodcut in case the family opens a new Lung Moon.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 06:45 PM   #3
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Old Wan Chai eatery goes for $420m
30 June 2009
The Standard

A private developer has bought the traditional Chinese Lung Moon Restaurant in Wan Chai for HK$420 million.

Henry Cheung Wai-keung is considering two plans to redevelop the site of the four-story restaurant on Johnston Road, The Standard's sister publication Sing Tao Daily has learned.

The site area covers 4,300 square feet and has a gross floor area of more than 16,000 sq ft.

The first proposal is to build a commercial shopping complex. Another option is to join other developers to construct a building with a gross floor area of 64,500 sq ft _ 15 times the current site area.

Lung Moon is one of the oldest traditional restaurants in Wan Chai, and is close to Lee Tung Street _ also known as Wedding Card Street _ which will also be redeveloped. The Urban Renewal Authority announced last week that a consortium consisting of Sino Land (0083) and Hopewell Holdings (0054) won the joint development contract for the Lee Tung Street-McGregor Street project.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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3/20

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Old May 20th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #5
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Source : http://www.fotop.net/larrysuen/2007wanchai_lungmoon









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Old September 2nd, 2010, 06:16 PM   #6
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Gallery: Lung Moon Restaurant -- last look at a legend
A Wanchai landmark and 1950s time capsule, Lung Moon Restaurant will close its doors at the end of this month. We make a final sentimental visit
4 November, 2009


Lung Moon Restaurant Loyal customers (left to right): The Yeung brothers own a cha chaan teng together. Next to them are husband and wife Ting Chi-keung and Cheng Kei-ying, 85-year-old retiree Mrs. Yip and a Lung Moon waiter who asked not to be identified. Each has been a Lung Moon regular for decades.

Lung Moon Restaurant, which has stood on Johnston Road for six decades, recently announced it will be closing its doors by the end of November.

Since the announcement, business at the restaurant has tripled. Little about Lung Moon has changed since it first opened in 1949 and diners craving a taste of nostalgia have been flooding the restaurant day and night.

Having recently sold the building that houses the restaurant for HK$420 million -- the building occupies a prime spot on Wanchai’s main drag -- owner Tse Wai-kin is looking for a new location to re-open Lung Moon Restaurant. The restaurant’s staff and regular customers hope he will be able to recreate the convivial spirit of the original.

“I spend more time here than in my own home,” says Chan Suk-ching, one of Lung Moon’s dim sum chefs. “Even on my day off, I drop by to hang out with everyone and play some mahjong.”

Tse and his brothers took over the restaurant from their father and have strived to preserve the original look. Red lanterns hang above the Chinese characters for 'Lung Moon Restaurant' and the original charcoal oven for making Lung Moon's signature barbecue pork remain.

Patrons pouring in the front doors today reminisce about the old days. Among them are first-timers hoping to witness a slice of Hong Kong dining history before it is razed to the ground. Some even try to take home a souvenir.

“I have to store away our memorabilia because a lot has gone missing recently,” says Tse.

On a recent visit, we took away our own souvenir: this photo essay that documents the retro atmosphere and micro-community of tightly knit staff and customers.

Lung Moon Restaurant’s last supper party will be held on November 30. Diners can reserve a place for HK$300 per person. Reservations are running out fast.

Read more: Gallery: Lung Moon Restaurant -- last look at a legend | CNNGo.com http://www.cnngo.com/hong-kong/eat/g...#ixzz0yNyJxe45
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Old October 26th, 2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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Source : http://www.pbase.com/henryhpk/lungmoon









































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Old December 4th, 2010, 01:00 PM   #8
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one of my friends from HK took this photo in end of 2009:


at right side is the restaurant,
in 1953 the north side (left) of Johnston Road was already reclaimed land


is there any render or model of the redevelopement?

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Old January 30th, 2011, 06:16 PM   #9
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Restaurant Model
Source : http://s288.photobucket.com/albums/l...%20Restaurant/









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Old October 18th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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7/23 site

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Old July 14th, 2012, 04:58 PM   #11
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2007 Site Photo

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Old July 16th, 2013, 06:16 AM   #12
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7/13

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Old July 16th, 2013, 03:43 PM   #13
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"DEMO" ??? as i know it is already T/O


edit: based on the previous pic it even looks like t/o or nearly-t/o

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 06:18 PM   #14
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7/28

image hosted on flickr

Hong Kong, July 2013 by canfieldelyse, on Flickr
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Old March 18th, 2014, 06:20 PM   #15
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2/20 photo
https://flic.kr/p/kgY2RM
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Old March 18th, 2014, 10:26 PM   #16
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That corner building really needs to be reclad.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 01:44 AM   #17
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I like the pink, yellow and blue building. Very colourful!
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Old July 1st, 2014, 08:25 AM   #18
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Appears the ground-floor areas are done :


Flickr 上 2h.s.Wanchai - 湾仔
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