L to R: Lin and Andrew Wong, new owner Sandy Li with her son and the Nelson family - Hamish, Zoe and Lucinda.
L to R: Lin and Andrew Wong, new owner Sandy Li with her son and the Nelson family - Hamish, Zoe and Lucinda.

REVEALED: Meet the new owners of the Busy Bee Fish Bar

It's been the talk of the town for the last month and now Andrew Wong has revealed who will be taking over the Busy Bee Fish Bar.

Sitting down with the NewsMail earlier this week, Andrew said it took some time for the Wong family to find the perfect people to take over the reigns.

But the son of the late Kent Wong assures the Bundaberg community that the famous battered chips are in very good hands.

"I've had many people stopping me in the streets to ask what the future of the shop entails - will it be staying open? Will I be taking over? Will it still be the Busy Bee? And now all will be revealed," Andrew said.

"One of the reasons I can't take over the business is because I'm still single and I've got no kids and this shop really requires a family to run it.

"Owners will naturally put more effort into the running of the business so when you have a family that works together it makes it easier than hiring help."

Andrew Wong has revealed what the future holds for the Busy Bee Fish Bar and its world famous battered chips. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Andrew Wong has revealed what the future holds for the Busy Bee Fish Bar and its world famous battered chips. Picture: Rhylea Millar

The Busy Bee Fish Bar has been serving customers for the last 72 years and was first opened by a couple named Douglas and Stella Lung.

"He was born in China, came from the same village as my parents and his surname was actually Wong too but he changed it to Lung to fit in because it was a bit different back in those days," Andrew said.

"After migrating Douglas married an Australian woman named Stella, bought the shop and came up with the idea of the Busy Bee Fish Bar and battered chips."

Andrew said when his father Kent migrated to Australia he didn't have a penny to his name, could barely speak English and spent his first year in Bundaberg working in a Chinese restaurant.

Late owner of the Busy Bee Fish Bar Kent Wong has been remembered as a kind, humble and hardworking man.
Late owner of the Busy Bee Fish Bar Kent Wong has been remembered as a kind, humble and hardworking man.

52 years ago Douglas decided to retire after running the shop for 29 years so Kent left his job at the restaurant and purchased the Busy Bee Fish Bar.

While Kent and his wife Lin worked in the shop Douglas and Stella would watch over their three children Andrew, Allan and Anna until they were old enough to help out with the business.

"We were the only place in Bundaberg at the time selling battered chips and that's when the real success of the Busy Bee Fish Bar started - that was back when farmers cut cane by hand," Andrew said.

"Initially we were a seafood market but the industry changed so we stopped selling fresh seafood and concentrated on the fast food element which is what the shop became famous for.

"The vacant store across the road (38 Targo St) is the oldest shop in Bundaberg, used to be a cattle and horse auction stable so people would come to us for their fish and chips and then go buy horses and cows."

L to R: Lin and Andrew Wong, new owner Sandy Li with her son and the Nelson family – Hamish, Zoe and Lucinda.
L to R: Lin and Andrew Wong, new owner Sandy Li with her son and the Nelson family – Hamish, Zoe and Lucinda.

Last night at his father's memorial service Andrew and his mother Lin handed their Busy Bee aprons to new owner - Sandy Li.

"Sandy is from Hong Kong and her husband is Chinese but was born in Malaysia and they are both Australian citizens who live in Bundaberg," Andrew said.

"It's interesting how all three generations of Busy Bee owners were of Chinese descent, came to Australia and worked hard to build a life for themselves."

Local family - the Nelsons, will also be assisting Sandy and her husband with the running of the store.

"I warned Sandy not to do what my dad did - he didn't hire people because he thought if he did all the work himself he would save on wages but the ultimate sacrifice was his health," Andrew said.

"If you've got more hands on deck, the business will run more efficiently and I don't want to see what happened to my father happen to them … I've told Sandy to live a healthy balance and take care of herself.

"The Nelson family are very nice and the mother will be helping Sandy to run the Busy Bee Fish Bar along with her daughter and son.

"Sandy and her husband have a five-year-old son and the Nelsons are a family of eight … both families want to build a future and that's why it's a perfect fit."

Father and son Andrew and Kent Wong.
Father and son Andrew and Kent Wong.

The Busy Bee Fish Bar is at 39 Targo St and will reopen with its new owners on March 27.

Fresh potatoes which were gifted by locals at Kent's memorial service will be used to cook the first batch of battered chips as a special tribute.

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