‘Looking forward’ to a break after 43 years

After 43 years, Sopheap, 58, and Nee, 61, Ung have sold their Pacific Fish Shop and are taking...
After 43 years, Sopheap, 58, and Nee, 61, Ung have sold their Pacific Fish Shop and are taking early retirement. Photo: Peter McIntosh
If you thought Nee and Sopheap Ung’s behaviour had been a little fishy lately, it is because they have sold their popular South Dunedin fish and chip shop after 43 years — and they were hoping to just disappear off into the sunset without a fuss.

The Cambodian couple came to New Zealand as refugees during the Cambodian Civil War between the Khmer Rouge and the Kingdom of Cambodia.

It destroyed more than 20% of the property in the country and an estimated 275,000-310,000 people were killed.

Among them were members of his family, Mr Ung said.

"We left because of the war — we just had to get out of there.

"We lost my mother and my baby brother — starvation."

The couple came to Dunedin and once they had established themselves, took ownership of the Pacific Fish Shop, in Hillside Rd.

"We’ve been here ever since — that was 43 years ago.

"It’s hard work and long hours every day.

"But the good thing about it is talking to the customers. I have very good customers. They make me laugh.

"A bit of laughter every day is good for your health."

Mr Ung said he had told a handful of customers that he had sold the business and that he was helping the new owner to get settled in.

"But my customers are not very happy. So I’m not telling anyone else.

"We’ll just disappear and they’ll get used to the new owners."

He said they were taking early retirement for health reasons and they would be gone by the end of the month.

"I’m going to miss our shop. I’ll be sad. I feel a little bit lost now.

"But I’m looking forward to it.

"Maybe I’ll spend more time with my grandkids, watch more sport on TV, maybe I’ll visit Cambodia again.

"I’m not sure yet. We’ll have to see what happens."

They might be retired, but it would not stop them from visiting the shop to buy a meal now and then, he said.