The Eastgate Oriental City complex and Wai Yee Hong, and the role they play for Bristol’s Chinese community are discussed in an interview with Allan Tan for the Bristol Evening Post:
WE CAN SUPPLY A REAL TASTE OF THE ORIENT
10:40 – 14 August 2007
For years, Bristol’s Chinese community has been lacking a hub for business. Despite scores of thriving firms stretching across Bristol, there has not been a focus for the Chinese population.
The opening of Eastgate Oriental City last month is expected to change all that.
It is based on a two-acre site off Eastgate Road, behind the old Eastville Stadium near Ikea.
A two-storey building houses a warehouse-style supermarket offering Chinese food and goods on the ground floor.
On the first floor there is a Chinese restaurant staffed by chefs from Hong Kong.
The development is the idea of brothers-in-law Allan Tan and Raymond Chow, who are relocating their Wai Yee Hong cash and carry after 20 years of trading in nearby Station Road, Montpelier.
Mr Tan, 54, of Stoke Bishop, said: “It is a dream. We have been trying to plan it for five years, trying to get a good location. The site provides easy access from the motorway, just behind Ikea.
“The 6,000 sq ft restaurant seats 400 diners and has top-quality chefs.”
Clifton architects Barlow Henley have designed the new building, which features a striking glass dome with a lift and a terrace for the restaurant.
The cash and carry, which is attached to a supermarket open to the general public seven days a week, is already attracting customers from as far afield as Exeter and Portsmouth.
The supermarket boasts 4,600 lines and a range of exotic products which are not found at any conventional supermarket.
These include duck feet, pig spleen and, for the more adventurous, slices of shark fin for a cool £110 each.
And it’s what the Chinese community has been crying our for, says Allan. “The Chinese are a very close-knit community and they’ve never had anything like this before,” he said.
“There are now a lot of Chinese students studying in Bristol, and there are a lot of Chinese working for firms such as Airbus and BAE Systems.
“We also stock ranges of Thai food, which means restaurants do not have to go to London for stock.”
The firm plans to sell its wares online at www.waiyeehong.co.uk .
Plans to develop the rest of the building are also taking shape.
Its upstairs shops will house a Chinese tailor, a hairdresser, as well as a delicatessen baking bread on a daily basis.
Eastville Market, which will continue to trade at the site on Fridays and Sundays, will move 25 metres and be re-organised to allow for the development.