In response to my post about New Wah Yuan last week, a reader emailed me about an encounter she had there with a certain creepy crawly strolling across her table. Was I grossed out? Hell yeah. Will I stop going to New Wah Yuan? Not necessarily.
When we eat out, we put our well-being in a restaurant’s hands and enter into an implicit agreement: “I will pay you money for your food. In return you promise to operate a clean establishment and not give me a tapeworm in my spicy tuna roll.” According to a recent Time Magazine article, 76 million Americans get sick from unsafe food every year. That’s a lot of violations of the implicit agreement; I would like my money back, and an Imodium, please.
I worry about food safety, but I also try not to obsess about it, because I’m pretty sure if you poked around most restaurant kitchens you’d find some health code violation (helloooo, Chinatown), and then you’d be so skeeved that you’d never dine out anywhere. (Reminds me of the Friends episode where Phoebe dates a restaurant health inspector. At first she’s attracted to his power to shut down a restaurant. Then, after he’s handed out violation after violation, she realizes there’s nowhere left to eat.) And as Sarah Klein in the Time article points out, “You gotta eat.” That doesn’t excuse little buggers walking across the table as you tuck into your beef chow fun. I’ve got a wary eye now on New Wah Yuan, and it may be a while before I go back.
Have you had any bad experiences at restaurants, and what would it take for you to stop going to a restaurant completely?