The latest addition to the popular Hong Kong franchise Hui Lau Shan has finally opened in Richmond city centre.
The Richmond News reported last week that the mango dessert spot was one step closer to opening more than three years after its initial opening date - and so it was.
Kate Su, manager of the Hui Lau Shan on Buswell Street and Cook Road, told the News the soft opening started last Saturday, March 11.
Su explained that the goal of the soft opening is to gauge customer reactions to its offerings unique from other franchisees.
"Apart from items from the Hui Lau Shan franchise, we also want to innovate and forge a new path," she said.
Richmond originals include tangerine chicken wings, hot wings and various sandwiches.
The dessert offerings, such as mango sago sweet soup and mango pancakes, are made following tried and tested Hui Lau Shan recipes.
"Snack offerings at Hui Lau Shan and other Hong Kong eateries are almost all the same, such as fish balls and egg waffles. So we thought we would change it up," said Su.
Not only are the menu items different from the typical Hui Lau Shan offerings, but the decor at the new Richmond location is also a departure from the original red, gold and yellow theme. In an attempt to cater to the female and youth demographics, it opted for a dreamier look with pink and gold furniture accompanied by floral and pearl accents.
"Apart from being a place to grab a bite, we're also trying to give our customers a good experience," said Su.
As for the four-year delay from the 2019 opening date, Su said it was mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various other reasons.
"We were trying to find someone who would be the right fit for running the kitchen. We also wanted to figure out which business model would fit us best," she explained.
Some team members who went to China during the pandemic were also unable to return sooner.
"We wanted to wait until everyone on the team was ready before we opened."
The store doesn't currently have any social media accounts and there are no set opening times during the soft opening, but Su anticipates the grand opening will happen shortly after this week.