From A Kitchen Helper At 14 Y/O To Owning One Of The Best Chinese Restaurants in Penang, Here’s The Story Of Loy Tan

Ask any Penangites for Chinese food recommendations and you’ll probably hear “Maple Palace.” Founded in 2009, Maple Palace Restaurant quickly became one of the most sought-after Chinese restaurants on the island. Its modern take on Chinese cuisine has put many on the waiting list, even the locals. One would think that such success is supported by prominent background, but founder Tan Loy Sin’s life story said otherwise, and it all started at the mere age of 14.


Humble Beginnings: Sacrificing Education To Make Ends Meet

Imagine yourself as a fourteen-year-old from a humble background where for lack of financial stability, you were forced to work as a part-time waiter for hotels to provide for the family. Because of that, you had to sacrifice your dream of earning a higher education after Form Five.

Just like the life story that our parents or grandparents tell us, young Tan Loy Sin (nicknamed Loy Tan) didn’t have it the easy way as well. Growing up, he had to move around a lot in search of cheaper rentals. Food was scarce, and it would be a luxury to find a piece of meat on the plate. “Though we didn’t have much, my love for food came from following my mother to the kitchen whenever she cooked and a deep fascination for food,” said Loy.

So when he was offered the chance to work in the kitchen department in Shangri-La by a chef he had befriended, he agreed. This later became a monumental decision that shaped his life into what it is now.

Getting Into The World Of Culinary:

Loy didn’t settle for less. He gained an impressive wealth of experience working as a hotel part-timer and a butcher before finally entering Western and Asian cuisine at Shangri-La at the age of eighteen. He then proceeded and went on a voyage on Star Cruise for a decade.

During the first three years on Star Cruise, he worked 10-12 hours every day in the Western Cuisine department with a minimum wage. When he heard that Chinese kitchen had a better offer, he wanted to switch but it wasn’t easy getting into it. So for six years, he volunteered in the Chinese kitchen to learn after work relentlessly before finally reliving his dream as an Assistant Chinese chef.


With a stable salary, he was soon introduced to the idea of starting his own restaurant by a friend. At the age of 29 and with a small capital, Jade Blossom, formerly located in Bayan Lepas, came to be. For six years, Loy and his partner ran a fine Cantonese restaurant, a new concept many expected would fail but had multinational companies make a beeline for authentic Chinese food instead.

How Maple Palace Came To Be:


Another grand opportunity came in 2009. Loy was offered a heritage building in Georgetown, which boasted a bigger car park, a capacity of 300 people and a building rich in history. It was everything he could dream of. Trusting his six-year experience managing Jade Blossom, he felt confident that his newest venture would turn into a success, and it did.


Formerly known as Maple Gold, this is how Maple Palace Restaurant came to be, and it has been a long journey. Loy Tan, the Founder and Executive Chef of the restaurant, still overwatches the kitchen and comes out with a new set of menu every couple of months. With the success he garnered today, he remained humble and grounded. Together with his wife, Vivien, the pair runs the restaurant.

In Photo: Roasted Crispy Pork Roll With Quinoa
In Photo: Sichuan Goby FIsh Fillet w/ Pickle Mustard and Vermicelli
In Photo: Sweetened Herbal Jelly w/ Peach Resin in Almond Milk

Maple Palace: One Of The Best Chinese Restaurants In Penang

As of today, Maple Palace Restaurant remains one of the best Chinese restaurants in Penang. It offers over 100 dishes with a perfect blend of East and West with an ambience that boasts elegance and style. Their recent Omakase take on the traditional menu has proven their skills and confidence in Chinese cuisine. Exclusively curated, these dishes are not on the menu and require a reservation at least three days in advance. Prices for the Omakase menu start from RM250/pax, with a min. booking of four pax. 

Address: 47, Jln Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang

Operating Hours: 12pm-2.30pm | 6pm-10pm (Daily)

Status: Non-Halal

Link(s): Website | Facebook | Instagram 

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