Even though I lived in Hong Kong for five years, I never went to a true floating restaurant.
In the early 1960s, my mom ate at Tai Pak Restaurant in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen district, where diners first boarded little sampans and were rowed out to the restaurant, floating in the harbor.
Back in the 60s, Tai Pak and the more famous Jumbo were touristy, but I heard the food wasn’t half bad. By the time I got to Hong Kong in 1990, those restaurants weren’t must-sees on the tourist circuit. The food had gotten pretty bad.
I recently learned that Shatin, the area where I lived, also had a floating restaurant back in the 1960s (photo on left) and served as another option for tourists in search of an exotic place to dine.
Looking at this postcard I picked up on eBay, I don’t recognize Shatin a’tall. By the time I moved to Shatin, it was built up with high rise jungles and sprawling shopping malls.
Several times throughout the 90s, I ate at the granite, boat-shaped Treasure Floating Restaurant in Shatin (photo on right), which stood on a different location from the original floating restaurant. My college roommate’s family invited me there for dim sum on the weekends, where we waited outside (up to an hour) before our name was called. And then when my family came to visit, I brought them to the Treasure. We were often the only non-Chinese in the place.
In recent years the name has been changed from the Treasure to the Star, but it’s still in the same granite, boat-shaped building.
I’ve heard the quality has gone way down.