In yet another case of restaurants getting the better of tourists, a man was charged over 10,000 yuan ($1,600) for a meal at a seafood restaurant, with a significant part of that total coming from an endangered and expensive species of fish costing 5,731 yuan ($872). Yikes.
The customer in question, Chen Yen, was treating a group of 20 people at a Harbin restaurant, apparently recommended by a local tour guide. The main dish was kaluga sturgeon, a large and freaky-looking predatory fish native to the rivers of Heilongjiang province, that is also critically endangered.
Kalugas are believed to have been around for some 130 million years and are one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. They have been hunted to near extinction for their valuable roe.
While most of the discussion online focused on the horrendous price of the fish, netizens also pointed out that the fish was a close relative to the Chinese sturgeon, also an endangered species. It remains unclear whether the fish was bred in captivity or captured from the wild.
Concerns about diners feasting on endangered animals aside, netizens generally agreed that the price tag of the meal was quite fair, especially considering that the restaurant wasn’t hiding its price per 0.5kg. The man could see for himself that it was costing him 398 yuan per half kilogram of kaluga.
“The customer already knew the price, and when it came time to add up the bill, he had ordered two kilograms, that comes out to 1,592 yuan. You say he was ripped off, but did he think he was eating for free?” one netizen argued.
“If you are talking about feeding more than 500 people then sure that price sounds about right. While the other dishes aren’t that expensive, a half a kilogram of fish for 300 to 400 yuan with several people having eaten it before and a tour guide taking you to a so-called ‘special fish restaurant,’ obviously there’s something wrong there,” wrote another Weibo user who smells something fishy going on.
Neighboring restaurants reported that Chen didn’t take the hefty weight of his bill lightly and made a scene, forcing the restaurant to throw in a discount, though that still didn’t stop the two sides from coming to blows, CCTV reports.
And as life is nothing short of unfair, it was also later revealed that the normal price of the fish at local fish mongers was around 160 – 200 yuan per kilogram while the restaurant priced the fish at nearly 800 yuan per kilogram.
But hey, at least he wasn’t charged 38 yuan per prawn.
By Kitty Lai
[Images via CCTV / Weibo]