Brothers decide to close tonight after fighting losing battle to renew licence The taste of fresh wonton noodles from Central's Man Yuen noodle shop will exist only in people's memories when the 80-year-old dai pai dong closes at midnight tonight. The operators have given up their battle with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, which on May 6 ordered them to close the stall in Elgin Street after its licensee, Wong Kwong-hing, died. Only the licensee's spouse can inherit the licence, but Wong never married. The licences have not been issued since the 1970s and there are only 29 such dai pai dong left. Having been summonsed by the department twice for operating without a licence, the Li brothers, who were Wong's partners, decided to call it quits. 'We appealed but we knew it was not going to work,' elder brother Li Kin-keung said. Younger brother Li Kin-kwan said: 'It's a pity. The department could come here any time to summons us again to accuse us of occupying government land and operating without a licence. It's a big sin. We can't afford that.' Li Kin-keung hoped to find a shop in Central, but his brother said there was only a slim chance of moving to a nearby shop. 'The rent is crazy,' he said. 'The rent for a shop next to us went from $8,000 to $30,000 recently. It's impossible for us to keep going by selling $14 noodles. Plus, we have to recover the $1 million required to set up the shop.' Central and Western District councillor Kam Nai-wai, who has been helping the brothers, agreed it was a pity. 'In the end they didn't submit the form to appeal,' he said. 'The department kept summonsing them and I think they were worried. Instead of stocking up they would rather finish the business.' Mr Kam said he had collected more than 6,000 signatures and was sure they could have collected more. 'It's the government's responsibility for the loss of local culture,' he said. The Li brothers have been operating the stall since the 1980s, originally with Mr Wong. Nearby residents and those living further afield have flocked to Man Yuen recently, to taste their famous sirloin and pig trotters with noodles or just to take pictures. Ho Pui-wa, 71, came from Ma On Shan for a feast on the street. 'I heard about it on the radio. I want to try the wonton, sirloin and pig trotters,' he said. Paul Tse Kwai-chik, 65, from Mid-Levels, said it would be difficult to make exceptions. 'The government has to stick with its policies. You can still have pig trotter noodles somewhere else.' Man Yuen's neighbour, Yuk Yip Dessert, which has been trading for 90 years, will be left alone. Operator Mandy Li Wun-ching expects a loss of trade as some customers like to have sweet soup after their noodles.