Entrepreneur and nightlife event manager, Howin Chui, pursued his vision of bringing authentic Hong Kong cultural experiences to Sydney by opening his first restaurant, Kowloon Cafe. Since its launch, Kowloon Cafe’s mission to bring Cantonese dining culture back to the CBD has been an instant success in the community.
Vowing to stay authentic to the Hong Kong food and lifestyle culture, Chui’s vision grew quickly.
Kowloon Cafe – Opened in November 2019. Kowloon is loud and proud, featuring pumping Hong Kong hits and old school tiles. It is set in a laneway off Dixon Street and features authentic Hong Kong Cuisine, including their famous Spam and Egg Pineapple Bun. Kowloon’s moody lighting, bright neon signs and steady stream of Sydney’s well-healed customers gives off a nightclub vibe that is all-around Asian grunge with a modern twist. The menu design was inspired from a trip Howin took earlier in 2019 which combines authentic and innovative dishes. Located in Haymarket, Sydney.
Ni Hao Bar – Opened in November 2020, Nihao Bar takes on an unmistakable nostalgic charm, bringing the bustling Hong Kong nightlife and entertainment scene in the 1980s to life. The bar transports you back into time with retro flashing neon lights and murals of Bruce Lee and his master, IP Man, which was designed and painted by Adam Chow. Enjoy casual Cantonese dishes and cheeky cocktails on the rooftop or situated inside the dining room at Sydney’s historical Civic Hotel in Pitt Street.
Stir Fry King – Opened in February 2021, StirFry King brings authentic HK late-night vibes. The decor includes bright signage, neon lights and loud HK style music. The street scene is set with the noise of the wok and traditional Hong Kong stir fry dishes and Hot Pot. Located in Castlereagh Street, Sydney.
Due to the COVID restrictions, each restaurant has developed its own takeaway menu and delivery service while employing 65+ staff members across each destination.
“Opening hospitality businesses during COVID was hard work.” Explains Howin. “We had to pivot our style and adapt to changes every single day. We knew we couldn’t sit around and rely on Uber Eats, so we got creative”
When Ni Hao closed they opened up a food truck in The Hills District- pivoting to deliver to the demand which was launched to keep staff employed before the disaster payments. The name was ‘chicsandnoods’ and they sold out on the first day and lasted for a week as LGA’s closed. They then pivoted to delivery services. Howin introduced group buys for different areas, where communities can come together and buy food, then Howin would be delivering the food where the delivery fee is waived.
“We want people to still enjoy our food and the HK vibe. A lot of people are stuck at home at the moment. I am glad that, during the lockdown, we can still provide them with some of the experience I had envisioned. Through both the food and Hits of Hong Kong on our Spotify playlist”
Whilst Howin has his eyes on reinventing the Hong Kong experience in the Sydney CBD, Chiu is set to take on the Inner West by rebuilding the Hong Kong culture scene in Burwood.
“It’s incredible that we are expanding into a new suburb this year. Once the COVID lockdown finishes and restrictions ease we are excited to welcome customers back to our fun, upbeat venues. We want to keep creating, growing and sharing Hong Kong culture with Sydney.”
Chiu’s newest, most unique expansion is set to open in Emerald Square Burwood, December 2021.
As venues will be free to re-open to fully vaccinated Sydneysiders from 11 October. Table bookings will start to fill up, and you best believe we are all looking forward to sitting at the table with friends and family, and with your favourite five words. “May I take your order?”.