Wellington Chinese History Wiki
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Located at 120-126 Courtenay Place, The Shanghai Restaurant was considered to be a Wellington institution[1], being the first Chinese restaurant in Wellington to cater for non-Chinese members of the community.[2] It was famous for its Ching dynasty decor and extensive menu, which included well tried Chinese dishes, as well as European foods, such as steaks and chips.[2]

Cornelis Van Kranen. (1985). 120-126 Courtenay Place [Photograph]. Wellington City Libraries. https://wellington.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/5911

Shanghai Café sign, October 2021

Opened in 1948 by Ng Soon Wah, his son Thomas Carr Yam Ng, and Joe Lai Choy, it was popular with local Chinese as a meeting place and the restaurant was also used as a venue to play mahjong.[2][3]

In 1956 when it was sold to a cousin Humphrey Ng, who ran it until 1972 when it passed into the hands of in-laws of the family KK and Kit Har Yen.[2]

National Library of New Zealand, & Murphy, N. (1989). Object 83793 Detail - Shanghai Restaurant, Courtenay Place, Wellington, 1989. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?f=&id=83793&recordNum=0&u=0&t=pictorial&s=a&tc=0&q=chinese&p=0&numResults=20&l=en

Murphy, N., & National Library of New Zealand. (1989). Object 83794 Detail - Shanghai Restaurant, Courtenay Place, Wellington, 1989. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=83794&recordNum=1&f=corpnameid%241139184&l=en


  1. Wellington City Council. (2017). Wellington Heritage - 120 Courtenay Place, 122 Courtenay Place, 124 Courtenay Place. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://www.wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz/buildings/1-150/68-commercial-building-120-126-courtenay-place?q=
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chinese Voice 6 February 1997 issue http://www.stevenyoung.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=65&Itemid=29
  3. Julie Iles. (2019, April 15). Capital Cuisine: A potted history of popular Wellington restaurants through the decades. Retrieved 15 April 2019, from Stuff website: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/111927319/capital-cuisine-a-potted-history-of-popular-wellington-restaurants-through-the-decades

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