The owners and staff at ‘The Best Chinese Restaurant in Ireland’ have had a civic reception in their honour recognising 30 years of success in Derry.

Husband and wife team, Stan Lee and Lai Lee with members of ‘Team Mandarin’, attended a civic reception in the Guildhall this week hosted by the Mayor of the city, Maolíosa McHugh, to celebrate 30 years in business for the award-winning Mandarin Palace.

Just last month, the Mandarin Palace was voted ‘The Best Chinese Restaurant in Ireland’ at the prestigious Golden Chopsticks Awards in London and were presented with the accolade by TV presenter and fashion designer, Gok Wan, while the judging panel included celebrity chefs Ken Hom, Simon Rimmer (Sunday Brunch) and Ching He Huang.

Despite a devastating fire in March 2015, the Mandarin Palace continued trading through takeaway and worked hard until the restaurant was once again opened to come back even bigger and better than before.

Speaking about being honoured by a Derry City and Strabane District Council civic reception, Stan Lee said he was delighted that their hard work had been rewarded in such a manner.

“I was totally overwhelmed and very proud for Team Mandarin,” he said.

“The Mandarin Palace has provided local jobs in Derry for over 30 years and it is really great to get the recognition from the City of Derry for the continuing employment.

“I was very happy, the Mayor said to survive in business for 30 years was a huge achievement and, like the Phoenix risen from the ashes, in less than two years starting again from scratch after the fire, we were voted the best Chinese Restaurant in Ireland.”

Mr Lee thanked his hardworking staff for all their efforts in making the business such a success but paid the biggest tribute to ‘the real boss’, his wife, Lai Lee.

“Without our hardworking and loyal staff this could never have been achieved and, of course, most importantly they say that behind every good man is a better woman – my wife, Lai Lee, is the real boss,” he said.

“She is the one who trains all the staff, sets all the high standards and she’s the one with all the attention to detail, I might be the public face but she’s the unsung hero that deserves the spotlight – I’m the just the Elvis impersonator!”

Pictured above: Mayor Maoliosa McHugh hosts a civic reception for the proprietors of the Mandarin Palace, Stan and Lai Lee, winners of the All Ireland Golden Chopsticks Award for the Best Chinese Restaurant in Ireland. Also included are members of staff, 'Team Mandarin', who attended the reception in the Guildhall.

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