After a hard night of partying in Sydney’s CBD, all you want to do is get a good and substantial meal, so you head to Chinatown. After midnight most places are closed, and Golden Century is one of the restaurants open at that time. This memory is me when I was still a spring chicken and going out and enjoying my life, and these are fond memories. So to hear the news that the iconic Chinatown restaurant “Golden Century” is closing its doors – well let’s just say, it is definitely nostalgic sad news.
After 30 years of service to customers who savoured their food, “Golden Century” went into administration. Like for many businesses, the pandemic was partly to blame for its closing with the lockdowns and the temporary stop of dine in eating.
Hong Kong migrants – Eric and Linda Wong has served customers from all over for 3 decades with a menu as long as the alphabet. The restaurant served traditional Cantonese dishes, with dishes like their XO pipis being praised by big names like Momofuku’s David Chang as the “best dish in the world”. FYI – I have tried the XO pipis and I agree with Chang’s review.
Here is some of the history of the Wong’s migration to Sydney, Australia – and it is a story of the success of those who migrated to Australia from Asia (via SBS News):
“However, this Haymarket institution had humble beginnings. The Wongs migrated from Hong Kong to Sydney, Australia, in 1989 with the hope of providing a better education for their two children. The couple had previously owned a seafood restaurant in Kowloon, so it was only natural for them to start a hospitality business.
Within two weeks of landing Down Under, Eric and Linda took the reins of a restaurant called Golden Century, which was then at 405 Sussex Street in Sydney’s CBD. Language barriers and culture shock were not the only problems they faced initially. The restaurant’s bricks and mortar were compromised and the equipment and furniture were in need of major upgrades.
By 1990, the Wong-led Golden Century was turning enough tables to support the pair’s move down the road to 393 Sussex Street.“
The Wongs are proud of their achievements and how they have proudly showcased the deliciousness of traditional Cantonese dishes to every customer who came through their restaurant doors. Eric, attributes the success of “Golden Century” to the customers and to the 100 staff, some of which have worked in the restaurant for 20 years (via SBS News):
“In our business, we buy the best material because when a customer goes to Golden Century, they expect the best food,”
“Even if the chef is experienced, if the material is not good you can’t cook good food.”
“I am very proud of our staff because our team work so hard. They are so helpful and so proud of their job,”
“Some of my customers are three generations,”
“When they were little kids, they started to have the Golden Century food. Now they are 36, 37 years’ old and are very successful businessmen. They bring their business partners and their staff to come and then they mention to their staff ‘This is my favourite restaurant’, so you feel very proud of that.”
However, if you can’t stand it and crave the deliciousness of “Golden Century”, their other restaurants, The Century at The Star and Darling Square’s XOPP will continue the Golden Century legacy.
Congratulations to a great legacy and commiserations to an end of an era for the original restaurant.
Images via SBS News