Moe’s story: from Burmese comic book store to Moe Sushi in Subiaco

Moe Sushi Subiaco has been serving Japanese meals in Crossways since 2003, and from Wembley, Cottesloe & West Perth since 1998.

Moses K Maung, or Moe, was born in Yangon, Burma in the early 1970s during a time of political unrest and strict government control. Despite the challenges, Moe developed a passion for comics and at 16 years of age set up a small store for customers to buy and rent comic books.

Over the next seven years Moe built the business and also got married. However, feeling fearful and trapped, Moe emigrated to Perth in 1994 with his wife and just $60 in his pocket.

Upon landing in Perth, Moe faced the challenge of speaking little to no English, and immediately enrolled himself into a full-time language school. Plus, with less than a week’s rent to his name, he had to find a job. With a love for Japanese cuisine, Moe scored a night job working with Japanese chefs in the kitchen of Kyoto Restaurant in Northbridge, one of the first Japanese restaurants in Perth. Moe recalls that the restaurant shared the premises with a strip club upstairs – so close, you could hear the party music. Over three years, Moe completed his training at Kyoto and then moved to a large-scale, 200-seat Japanese franchise in Fremantle.

After a year in the big leagues, Moe spotted an ad in the newspaper offering up a shop space in the Cambridge International Food Court for next-to-nothing rent. Suspicious yet intrigued, Moe met the landlord who let him know that the last three tenants had all gone bankrupt, so he was happy to give the space out for minimal rent if he was impressed with the chef’s skills. Moe passed the test and set up shop in 1998 “with no money”, as one of only ~30 Japanese spots in Perth (for context, there are now over 200). Business was good and and Moe expanded to three Japanese eateries open at once. At 17 years, Subi holds the record for his longest running store so far.

In his 22 years, he has gained a reputation for some of Perth’s best sushi and boasts regulars such as Luke Longley, Colin Barnett, Chris Mainwaring, Adam Gilchrist, Governor Kim Beazley and a multitude of Dockers players, such as ex-captain’s Peter Bell and Matthew Pavlich. Moe’s son joked that they “used to be Eagles supporters, but we’ve now been converted to the Dockers”. But it’s not just the big names that matter to Moe;

“Some people have come here since they were 5 or 6, and now I see them all grown up, as lawyers and doctors, and they’re still coming in.”

Moe hopes to pass on his business to one of his five kids, with two of them currently working in-store. If you are heading into Crossways, make sure you pop in and say hi to Moe and the team!

Moe Sushi Subiaco 
Crossways Shopping Centre, 184 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Mon-Sat, 6am-6pm
(08) 9380 9911

Japanese restaurants in Subi

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