Authorities on Wednesday completed their inspection of an eatery in Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam following reports that its owner allegedly assaulted diners during the recent Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday, said Nguyen Thi Hong Hai, vice-chairwoman of the Ninh Hoa Town People's Committee.
Upon receiving a report from the diners involved in the incident, the Ninh Hoa Town People's Committee deployed functional units to examine Com Ga, a restaurant at the foot of the Ro Tuong Pass in Ninh Hoa Commune, Khanh Hoa Province, located along the south-central coast.
According to a preliminary investigation, as a group of diners arrived at the restaurant on February 6, the owner offered them a rice dish for VND50,000 (US$2.2) and a combo including rice and toppings for VND90,000 ($4).
The diners later decided to order four rice dishes and three soft drinks.
When the staff asked whether the eaters wanted canh chua ca ngu (southern Vietnamese tuna sour soup) or canh rau (vegetable soup), they picked the sour soup.
After finishing the meals, the customers were asked to pay VND200,000 ($8.8) for four rice dishes, VND60,000 ($2.6) for the drinks, and VND150,000 ($6.6) for the side dish, which was the tuna sour soup.
The diners refused to pay for the soup as they supposed it was included in their order.
During the discussion, the eatery owner became furious and threatened to throw the soup on the customers.
“VND150,000 for a bowl of tuna sour soup is a reasonable price, especially during the Tet holiday,” said Hai.
Hai also noted that the restaurateur was able to present a business permit during the inspection, which prompted authorities to merely issue an administrative violation notice for her misbehavior.
The restaurant was also told to publish fixed-price menus in the future.
One of the diners took to Facebook to complain, claiming they did not see the restaurant’s menu anywhere and tried to have a friendly conversation about the misunderstanding before the owner became irate and showed aggressive behavior and assaulting words to them.
“They threatened to hit us and throw the soup on us unless we paid the bill in full,” the diner recounted.
"I agreed to pay and then left for the sake of our safety.
“While we were leaving, they threw stones at our car, which was both rude and disappointing.”
The Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism said it found out about the case via Facebook, but had yet to receive a report from the customers.
Following the incident, the department encouraged customers to give feedback and report similar cases via the hotline number 0947528000.
The Tet break lasted from January 29 to February 6, during which Vietnamese gravitated to tourist attractions en masse.
Fleecing is an issue on any holiday in Vietnam.