Hanoi: A delicious bowl of pho can be purchased in most restaurants throughout Vietnam for between VND30,000-50,000 (US$1.3-2.5), but the price paid by a pair of Vietnamese-American tourists at one Hanoi restaurant was far steeper – VND800,000 (US$37) for two bowls of the dish.
By all accounts, the restaurant was just your average eatery and definitely not a 5-star gourmet joint. The pho itself, while quite tasty, was not accompanied by nuggets of gold or anything else to warrant the hefty price tag. The fact that the boss of the shop responded to complaints from the customers by ‘slashing his knife at the table’ suggests that he was well aware the meal didn’t warrant the super-sized bill, and the tourists were understandably threatened enough to pay the cheque and make a quick escape. The tourists reported the incident to the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism for further investigation.
Tourists being ripped off by dodgy restaurant owners in Vietnam is hardly a new development, but there has been an increase lately in the amount of cases reported to authorities. For example, a tourist at a beach town in Thanh Hoa contacted officials to report he’d been charged VND600,000 for a single chicken. Also, a customer who purchased a 1.2kg crab for the price of VND420,000 was dismayed to find it had been tied up with very heavy string. Once this was removed & the crustacean was boiled it lost well over half its original weight. An investigation by a government agency determined there were not enough grounds to charge the crab shop owner, but did note that the strings used to tie the crabs could weigh “up to 500g”.
If you’re hungry for more news on food-related rip-offs then Tuoi Tre News is the place to go.