Tang Food Emporium - The Flavours of Asia
185 Russell St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Call (03) 9663 3716
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History

The owners of Tang - The Asian Food Emporium, Elisa and Sio, are both originally from the former Portuguese Chinese colony Macau. Sio’s family was involved in supplying specialty timbers, rosewood and exotics to the shipwright and construction industry in Macau. Elisa’s family ran a well-established Asian Grocery store also in Macau. With a rich variety of selected foods from regional China and South East Asia, the store was immensely popular and busy. From an early age, Elisa would return from school and help out in the family store.

At the time, Elisa had family in business in Melbourne, Australia importing wholesale Asian food products. Elisa and Sio made a decision to come to Australia to set up a food based business similar to the family business in Macau.

Sio and Elisa arrived in Melbourne, Australia in 1987 as a young married couple. With the help of Elisa’s family, they sought a suitable location to develop and expand a food based business - an Asian style supermarket. They settled on a very small business named The Great Eastern Food Centre, which at the time was a store located at 246 Swanston Street with limited space and fittings. After two years at these premises, the couple decided to move, as with such limited space they had struggled to cater with increasing business. The next store was located on Little Bourke Street next to the then popular Kun Ming Restaurant.

Whilst the new premises was much bigger than their original store, it was still only moderate in size. However, being centrally located in Little Bourke Street’s China Town precinct, the location was extremely desirable. With more space, the Tangs were able to add greater regional variety to their product lines. Furthermore, heavy foot traffic on the street meant that more people began to shop at the store more regularly.

During this transition from the Swanston Street store to the Little Bourke Street store, Elisa and Sio worked together as a great team. Elisa focused on day to day activities and management of the new store whilst Sio concentrated on sourcing great products from all over Asia to add to the business’ reputation.

In 1994 they began to again search for a larger premises with the intention of developing a much bigger store enabling a much greater range of products and the ability to carry large quantities of selected and preferred products.

Sio and Elisa finally decided on their current location at 183-189 Russell Street. Initially occupying only one store frontage (183-185), the business gradually expanded and replaced the coffee lounge next door (187-189). Sio and Elisa were determined that this location offered them the real potential for developing their business.

This was to be the location that captured the next phase of growth in the Tang business. The extra space enabled them to expand their range to cover many different Asian cuisines from many different countries. Relationships built on trust and honesty attracted and held many customers (both old and new). Suppliers also appreciated the couple’s impeccable business ethics enabling them to comfortably expand and maintain their range and variety of products continually.

Whilst the Sio and Elisa invested a considerable amount of time into the business, they did not lose sight of family values. Family life was and is still very important to the Tangs. When they arrived in Australia they already had two children. Over the next fifteen years they had three more children; giving them a family of one boy and four girls.

As the years progressed and the children grew up and completed their education, they joined their parents in running the business whilst studying. Sherry, Leona, Tiffany, Allison and Ian with their education and drive have provided the business with new concepts and ideas as well as new and progressive directions for the business. Wallace, the husband of the eldest daughter Sherry, has now become one of the store Managers. Sio, Elisa and their family are all passionate about food and love the incredible variety they have been able to make available in traditional Asian cuisine through their store. They want to share this passion for good food with as many people as possible.

The family never wants to lose the excitement, vibrancy and life of their existing store where customers can find both the simplest and most exotic of foods. The Tang family want to share their expertise, knowledge and passion for best quality food at Tang - The Asian Food Emporium, where delicious, fresh and unique foods can be found every day - always with quality, variety and the widest choice.