For those currently in Dalat or headed there, I withdraw my high praise for the local seafood (hai san) restaurant in my post of 30 October. Two recent consecutive disappointing visits mean that it will be a while, if ever, before I revisit. Since I praised it so highly just six weeks ago, I feel it necessary to post an update.
Patronize this restaurant at your own peril. Last night, for the second consecutive visit, about 60% of the crab claws were "OLD". By that, I mean that they tasted ammonia-ish and were inedible.
I spit the first one out and started sniffing each before eating it. In the west, they would've gone back after the first one but, remember... I live in Việt Nam—the land of no returns or refunds. The second bad one went on the table. When I hit the third bad claw, I called the owner over and told her via Google Translate:
She shot me about two sentences of something I didn't understand and went back to work, leaving the plate of claws in front of me. I'm pretty sure she told me that she didn't care... or similar. I then put on my jacket and helmet, walked to where she was cooking, showed her a second screen:
paid the 65,000 ($3) I owed (it's Việt Nam!), and left.
She knows I'm a good customer because she greets me every time with a warm smile and "Xin Chao" (Hello) and, while I am getting seated, she brings over the bag of kitten food that I bought (third one) for her two kittens that were previously surviving on scraps, and feeds them. Other customers arrive and she might acknowledge them with a nod.
Yet she does nothing to keep me as a customer... like replace the bad claws with good or, what a concept, replace the whole damn plate!
Because it's Việt Nam!
Patronize her at your own peril.