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Restaurant allegedly overcharges seafood diners in Vietnam

Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 13:27 GMT+7
Restaurant allegedly overcharges seafood diners in Vietnam
This image shows the seafood dishes for which Le Anh Van had to pay VND1.46 million ($63) at Thap Ba 86, a restaurant in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Photo: Le Van

A Hanoi man has complained that a restaurant in a famous beach city in Vietnam fleeced him for seafood dishes he had there, making the eatery subject to an inspection by local authorities.

The complaint was raised by Le Anh Van in a post he published on the Nha Trang tourism forum using his Facebook account 'Le Van' on Sunday.

In his post, Van alleged that Thap Ba 86, a seafood restaurant located at 29 Pham Van Dong Street, Nha Trang, a touristic city in coastal Khanh Hoa Province, charged exorbitant prices of VND1.8 million (US$78), VND380,000 ($16.5) and VND450,000 ($19.5) per kilogram for sweet snails, elongated cockles, and jump snails, respectively.

Van said the incident happened on April 23 evening, when he and his wife came to the restaurant to eat seafood.

“When we arrived, I asked the restaurant owner [a man of about 30-40 years old] what snails he had," Van wrote in his post cited by Khanh Hoa online newspaper on Sunday.

"After he introduced a lot, I chose three of them.

"Their prices were VND200,000 [$8.6], VND350,000 [$15] and VND420,000 [$18] per kilogram, respectively.”  

After the meal, Van asked for the bill and found that exorbitant prices were charged for the seafood he had ordered.

“The wife [of the restaurant owner] gave me a bill of VND1.46 million [$63]," Van narrated in his post.

"I asked her why the prices the owner had told me were different from those in the bill.

"The woman affirmed that the prices of the seafood were those shown in the bill and she then went away."

Van recounted that he had footed the bill when the woman returned to his table.

“We are not locals, so we do not dare to strongly respond,” Van wrote.

Thap Ba 86 seafood restaurant in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre

Thap Ba 86 seafood restaurant in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Photo: Minh Chien / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Van Vuong, the restaurant owner, said that his place offers a variety of seafood, including snails of many species and sizes, at different prices.

The type of sweet snail Van and his wife ate is the largest one that was caught naturally from Vung Tau City, Vuong claimed, adding that 18-19 snails of this kind weigh one kilogram in total.

The price for such snails is VND1.8 million per kilogram and the rate is not exorbitant, Vuong affirmed.  

In the handwritten price list at the restaurant, the price of small sweet snails is VND480,000 ($21) per kilogram while that of large ones is between VND1.2 million ($52) and VND1.8 million, depending on their size.

The restaurant claimed to have offered 2.4 kilograms of sweet snails, among others, to another customer at VND1.7 million per kilogram on April 23.

The price was VND100,000 less than that calculated for Van because that eater ordered a far larger amount, the restaurant explained.

Regarding this case, the chairman of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa Province’s Nha Trang City, Nguyen Sy Khanh, said on Monday morning that he would order an inspection of this restaurant to clarify Van’s allegation.

Nguyen Thi Le Thanh, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism, said her department had yet to address this case because the tourist concerned did not report it through its telephone hotline set up to support travelers.

Meanwhile, Van said he called the numbers intended for supporting travelers both on the night when the incident occurred and on the following morning but nobody answered his calls.

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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