Everyone’s got a camera: NYC-market-worker-boot-on-fish edition

Ciara McCarthy of Patch reports a Chinatown fish market has become the latest Internet sensation. A video filmed by a customer shows a worker climbing on a tray of fish, apparently to reach an electrical box. His boots are seen on top of the fresh produce.

The video was shot at the Hung Fee Food Market, located at 214 Canal St., on Jan. 3 and uploaded to Facebook the next day by April Davidson, she told Patch in a message. It had been viewed nearly 180,000 times as of Tuesday.

“Seriously, seriously, you’re gonna stand there on the food with your boots?” Davidson can be heard asking in the video.

The footage has garnered thousands of shares on Facebook and has spurred hundreds of Yelp reviewers to leave negative comments on the market’s page.

A woman who answered the phone at the fish market said she didn’t speak English and there wasn’t anyone available to comment.

An employee at the store told Pix 11 that the man had been called in to fix an emergency electrical problem and said that all the fish that were stepped on were thrown out before they could be sold.

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets found “critical deficiencies” at the food market after conducting a review on Monday, spokeswoman Lisa Koumjian told Patch. The state agency dispatched a food safety inspector after seeing the video.

The Hung Kee Food Market was assigned a “C” grade for its sanitary conditions, Koumjian said. The state will conduct a follow-up inspection at the market in the near future. 

“The food safety inspector also addressed the consumer complaint regarding an individual standing on fresh fish,” Koumjian said in a statement.

“Management stated that a contractor, who was hired to repair an emergency electrical issue, stood directly on a fish display to access the electrical panel. Management has since instructed employees on proper access for electrical panels without jeopardizing product integrity and wholesomeness.”

Some Yelp reviewers came to the shop’s defense in the wake of the internet backlash. 

One man, who identified himself on Yelp as “Sailor J.” wrote, “Ok, I’ve been on the ocean for 30+ years… Have ANY of you freaksouts (who’ve likely never even been to this market) ever seen the deck of a typical commercial fishing boat when operating in full gear?” he wrote in his review. “The bottom of this guys shoes is, by far, not the nastiest thing these fish have touched.”

There’s a camera everywhere: NY rat-in-kitchen photo leads health department to shut down Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown

A popular dumpling restaurant in Manhattan has been shut down after a photo of a rat in the kitchen surfaced online, prompting the health department to do a surprise inspection.

The New York City Department of Health closed Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge Street in Chinatown Thursday night.

An anonymous tipster sent a photo to the website, gothamist.com, of a back alley area where food is prepared at the restaurant. In the shot, a rat can be clearly seen on the ground. The person who took the photo said it was taken Sunday evening and that the photo had been sent to the health department.

The restaurant received an “A” grade in its most recent inspection on May 28, although the restaurant inspection cites “live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas” as one of its sanitary violations.

5 Vegas Chinatown restaurants shut

There’s an old saying that originated with the Los Angeles restaurant inspection disclosure system: C is for Chinese.

In Las Vegas, health inspectors have shut down Chinatown restaurants, most with more than 50 demerits, in five of the last six weeks.

ChinaGittesCloseUpDarcy Spears of KTNV ABC 13 reports that one, Sam Woo BBQ kicked the reporters out as soon as they walked in. But they couldn’t keep inspectors or their cameras out.

The health district’s pictures show heavy grease build-up at the wok station. Dirty appliances, shelving, racks, bulk bins and kitchen floor.

A hand sink was a murky mess. Inspectors found handwashing wasn’t happening as it should.

As for the food, the list of things at unsafe temperatures is long, starting with par-cooked pigs. Chicken, egg noodles, cooked rice, cooked Chinese broccoli and cut lettuce all had to be thrown away because they were in the temperature danger zone. Same for cooked ducks, some from the day before.

Preserved duck eggs that were supposed to be refrigerated, were not. Plastic bags from a clothing store were being re-used to store spices.

The person in charge couldn’t list any symptoms of foodborne illness.

How many don’t get caught; who smuggles clams from Philly to NYC? A fish market in caught

The owner of a Chinatown fish market was arrested yesterday for allegedly selling dangerously dirty clams that she smuggled in on the luggage racks of passenger buses, sources told The Post.

Jin Hua Ke, 51, faces up to four years in jail if convicted of illegal commercialization of wildlife and other charges.

Tests showed high levels of fecal matter and other bacteria that made the clams unfit for human consumption, said Department of Environmental Conservation police, who are investigating the clam scam along with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“Bottom line is this: Would you want to eat something stored in the luggage cart of a bus since at least Philadelphia?” said DEC Officer Brent Wilson.

Authorities estimate that more than 5,400 pounds of freshwater clams — illegal to import and sell in New York — were trucked from Southern states and delivered to the New Lin Sichuan Fish Market, at 30 Market St., over six months.

Packaged in burlap, about a dozen packages would arrive on each bus Mondays and Tuesdays, according to local shopkeepers.

Rats filmed in Honolulu’s Chinatown market

Here’s the video of rats in a Chinatown market that sparked the story in the Honolulu Advertiser that Chapman just blogged about.

The video sparked a Department of Health inspection of Pacing’s, which was cited for a violation.

The Geller rat video has been seen by tens of thousands of people, and has spurred some to stop coming to Chinatown, according to shop owners, who say business has decreased — by 30 to 50 percent or more — over the last weeks.

Last year, Sekiya’s Restaurant in Kaimukí closed its doors for days and dumped all its food after an E. coli outbreak, which sickened seven.

Seaweed, straight from the drainage ditch, leads to citation for Hawaiian Chinatown store

Ogonori, also called ogo or sea moss, is a type of edible seaweed eaten along the coasts of Japan, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Ogonori is typically eaten cold and, for the up-and-coming microbiologists in the crowd who have spent hours autoclaving, ogo is a source of the thickener agar.

Apparently it’s easy to find – in Hawaii.

A seafood and produce store in Chinatown was cited by a Department of Health sanitarian Friday after a KHON2 report showed a man picking ogo from a drainage canal at Ala Moana Beach Park and then selling it to the owner of the business.

A Sanitation Branch inspector cited Cruzzette Store owner Felicidad Dela Cruz for purchasing ogo from an “unapproved source.”  Dela Cruz faced a fine of up to $1,000 a day had she continued to purchase ogo from the man captured on Thursday’s video by KHON2.

“She said that if somebody gonna get sick it will be my fault,” said Dela Cruz, as she described her conversation with the health inspector.

When asked what she had learned about food safety, Dela Cruz was quick to reply.

 “To know where my product (is) coming from and to be safe,” she said in broken English.  “I don’t want anybody get sick.”

Toronto Chinatown restaurant reopens

Doug posted the initial story about this eatery last week.  The Toronto Star is reporting today that the "Rat-plagued" Dumpling House at 328 Spadina Ave. is now open again.

The Star reports that the restaurant was closed over the long weekend and management was told it would have to comply with health regulations, including disinfecting the premises and contacting a pest-control operator.

Michael Chu, the manager of the Dumpling House was cited as saying he wanted to deal with the vermin problem, adding,"If the city didn’t shut us down, I would have closed." 

The staff reportedly spent the weekend "bleaching" tables, counters, containers and utensils. Chu hired a pest control operator to set traps.
The best part (and not really surprising) of the story to me is this:

While the incident will cost Chu around $10,000 in cleanup and closing costs, he says he’s not concerned. Even with a sign outside alerting people to the infestation, he had to turn people away. "I have gotten calls of support all day. It’s touching. I just want to cry."

Wonder how much of an effect posting restaurant grades/advisories really has on consumer preferences (especially if it is your favourite spot).