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Mar 8, 2007 07:20 PM

Flabbergasted in Little Saigon! [moved from LA board]

Went to Nhu Y in Little Saigon with my family. They are known for their Ca 8 Mon, which is "Fish 8 Ways". This is the fish version of the better known Bo 7 Mon, which is "Beef 7 Ways". The food was at the very best sub-par, but here's the clincher. I was appalled when we were charged $6 for plain ol' white rice when my sister ordered a shrimp stir-fry dish. I know there are places in L.A. proper that do this, but I've never known restaurants in ethnic enclaves outside of L.A to do this, and if it is a trend I am quite aghast. The really sad part is that we didn't even touch any of the white rice since the shrimp dish was so underwhelmingly mediocre. Somehow, it infuriates me more that it's a Vietnamese place doing this since I'm Vietnamese. I know that might sound odd, but there you have it. Paying for white rice in Vietnam would be downright laughable. This is tantamount to paying for ketchup at McDonald's or salsa at a Mexican place. I won't ever go back there just based on the quality of the food, but the charge for white rice is borderline criminal in my mind. Down with this trend, if indeed it is one, and down with Nhu Y for their nerve. I hope Little Saigon locals are as offended as I am and help prevent this practice from spreading up and down Bolsa by not patronizing such establishments...

Ironically, Nhu Y translates loosely as "Just as you like it". . . . N O T ! ! ! ! !

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  1. hello, are you sure they didn't charge you for the rice for each person? some restaurant will do that say .60 cents for each person for white rice and if there are ten people in the party, they will charge you $6.00, still a bummer though i am sure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: curtiskan

      Hi there, my sister requested the standard pot of rice that we always order during any of our culinary jaunts in Little Saigon and that resulted in the $6 charge. The kind that comes in a red container and lid with a large flat "spoon" and several servings of white rice. A definite bummer, I assure you...

    2. Face it...sign of the times.
      If they do it in LA they'll do it in OC. If I'm in an Asian restaurant where the food is served "family style" and they bring rice and we don't need it because we have dishes with other starch like noodles I'll tell them we don't want it because I know there's going to be a charge for it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: monku they do this in SGV???

        1. re: hch_nguyen

          Can't say for Vietnamese restaurants, but most Chinese restaurants do.

          1. re: hch_nguyen

            Triumphal Palace in Alhambra does....I was horrified!

        2. If the rice charge irks you then you definitely would be offended by the tea charge at Chinese restaurants for dim sum. I was kind of irked when my daughter was an infant and they'd charged a tea charge for her, but then again they might call it a set up charge.

          Maybe a bad example comparing it to ketchup or salsa which I think are condiments...they wouldn't charge you for hot sauce or soy sauce would they? I remember being charged extra for salsa-- saying it was a side order at the Industry Hills Sheraton years ago..they didn't go for my argument that it was a condiment...and it was a Hispanic waiter.

          8 Replies
          1. re: monku

            The tea charge at dim sum never bothered me because this is all I've ever known, but being from Texas, the white rice charge is new (and shocking) to me. It would never fly there.

            While not exactly analogous, what offends me about paying for ketchup or salsa is the same as what offends me about paying for white rice, and that's my line of reasoning for using the analogy. As an Asian person, white rice is such a fundamental part of every dish that it seems ludicrous to tack on an extra charge for it. It's a bit like paying extra for chips when you order a spinach and artichoke dip. The two go hand in hand and the chips are "understood", if you will. I *think* that many non-Asians at Asian restaurants eat the entrees without the accompaniment of rice and, in that case, it seems a little less odd (but only a little), but I'm confident that this is decidedly not the case with Asians themselves in general. A meal without rice is an unusual one at best. Therefore, it seems odd that a restaurant catering predominantly to Asians (in this case Little Saigon) would partake in such a practice. As an aside, I don't recall being charged for white rice the last time I was at Sam Woo.

            1. re: hch_nguyen

              I like the comparison to paying for chips when you order artichoke dip. Really makes the problem crystal clear. I would think extra rice could have a fee, but not the first bowl.

              Also, I think they probably make a killing on that charge. How much is a big bag of rice? I don't know. Just thinking...

              1. re: katkoupai

                My apartment is always stocked with rice and a 25lb bag goes for about $20. That's a lot of dang rice....

                1. re: hch_nguyen

                  Definitely a good way to increase restaurant profit.

                  1. re: hch_nguyen

                    Just 25 lbs? We usually get 50 lb bags of Jasmine rice on sale for around $16. :-)

                    1. re: raytamsgv

                      well I was going off memory :) I bought my current bag so long ago I don't remember how much it costs anymore. It lasts forever, point being that rice is relatively cheap so that don't have to charge much to recoup their costs.

                2. re: monku

                  Tea charge in dim sum restaurants is standard practice the world over. Sometimes they waive the charge as a curtesy. White rice charge is also pretty standard anymore, esp. if you don't order a family style dinner. If you order just one dish we usually just order one bowl of rice. If you order a whole pot of rice they'll charge accordingly. Free rice will come with family style dinner.

                3. I think the reasons are two-fold. Most Asian restaurants are now in agreement that they CAN charge you for rice, as IT IS fundamental to having a proper meal, and begrudgingly or not, the customer WILL pay for it. Also, I know it may not seem like much of a financial hit to the average diner, but when the restaurant multiplies this unit cost by possibly hundreds or even thousands of units a day, the cost truly adds up. I remember not too long ago, when it was a given that most Asian eateries provided big communal bowls of rice without any charge. However, those days seem to be nothing but a fond memory now, along with full-service gas stations and Blue Chip Stamps... However, if you're in the Westside, you can still get loads of delicious "free" bread along with olive oil & garlic to accompany your meals at Alejo's in Westchester and MDR. A few glasses of Chianti, some fried calimari, a chopped salad, and you're set...

                  1. I was also very surprised the first time the entrees at a Chinese restaurant didn't come with rice, all my life I knew that rice was supposed to be part of my chinese food. The rice had to be ordered as a side dish!! And this happens at many restaurants, including my local Thai food places.
                    ....But, this is what really bothers me, one of my favorite Japanese food restaurants doesn't offer refills for hot tea. If you want more hot tea, you need to order another cup....this was so new to me when I was waiting and waiting for the waiter to bring me more hot tea, and he never came until I asked, then he said; Do you want to order another cup of hot tea??

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lvgoodfood

                      Wow. Good point. You know, I remember getting a pot of hot tea with my meal at a pho place I used to go to. They would just keep coming by, filling it up, kind of like a water refill (no charge). Now, everywhere I go, I have to order tea, and of course, get charged. :)

                      1. re: lvgoodfood

                        I'll admit that I'm surprised; however I can't help thinking of how subtly professional he was to inform you that there was a charge. Good for him! After all, he's not setting the tea charges. I was just thinking of the previous thread on the "water scam."