A Hung Hom eatery that has won wide acclaim for its Hong Kong-style burgers has ceased operations, bringing the curtain down on its more than five-decade-long history.
Si Sun Fast Food, which was founded in 1963, had to shut shop due to a property redevelopment project.
According to Apple Daily, the restaurant and some other stores and housing estates nearby were forced to sell their properties under the Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment scheme.
The company involved in the redevelopment scheme is Henderson Land Development, which is controlled by tycoon Lee Shau Kee.
Si Sun was the first restaurant to make hamburgers in Hong Kong, even earlier than the McDonald’s chain, with a famous patty made with beef and various choices for sauces.
It became very popular with locals and students from the nearby Hong Kong Polytechnic University, selling up to nearly 1,000 burgers in a day.
But now it has halted operations, with a notice pasted outside the shop.
The restaurant said on its Facebook page that it is suspending operations and that it will provide an update on the situation later.
Si Sun Fast Food had a floor area of around 52.5 square meters, with a saleable price of nearly HK$19.5 million last year.
Chung Kei-to and his brother Chung Kei-ching, who were joint owners of the property along with other siblings, were interviewed by the media earlier this year about the hole-in-wall fast food shop.
In the interview, they spoke about the restaurant’s history and the family’s roots.
According to the duo, their father Chung Kwun-kau came to Hong Kong from China in the 1960s to seek refuge, along with a cousin named Law Kwai-cheung.
Chung Kwun-kau initially began as a helper at Law’s Vitasoy restaurant. Later, Chung opened his own eatery at Whampoa Street in Hung Hom, selling toast, tea, and pastries.
The operation became Si Sun Fast Food years later.
He had bought the place in 1979 for HK$445,000, and left the property to his two sons.
Hearing about a popular sandwich from overseas, Chung Kwun-kau used two round shaped buns to sandwich a greasy, pan-fried beef patty.
Called “Hong Kong-style Bun”, it became an instant hit with diners.
Among various offerings, Si Sun Fast Food is famous for its double-decker cheeseburger. The burger, priced at HK$24, is made to order.
The fast-food joint has been at the top of Hong Kong’s food search engine Open Rice for many years. People were often seen lining up outside the eatery, especially during holidays.
Many celebrities, including cooking show host Michael Lam, have tried and praised the burger and its special homemade mayonnaise sauce.
Lam has pointed out that the patty was made with fresh ground beef and that the ingredients were mixed with bare hands.
The end product tasted “like the 60s was put in a plate in front of you”, he said.
A patron surnamed Chan told Apple Daily that he used to bring his family all the way from Lam Tin to dine at Si Sun Fast Food in Hung Hom.
The burgers from Si Sun are juicier than those at most other stores, he said, adding that he hopes the eatery will resume business as soon as possible and continue to sell its retro-style delicacy.
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