Prominent writer exposes Hua Hin restaurant rip-off

Prominent writer exposes Hua Hin restaurant rip-off

Two-time SEA Write Award writer Win Lyovarin posts a message about overcharging by a  at a
Two-time SEA Write Award writer Win Lyovarin posts a message about overcharging by a at a "notorious" seafood restaurant in Hua Hin on his Facebook page. (Photo taken from @winlyovarin Facebook page)

When prominent writer Win Lyovarin took some foreign friends to eat at a seafood restaurant in a Hua Hin night market, he got a major shock when the time came to pay.

A plate of four grilled prawns was billed at 4,000 baht -- 1,000 baht each.

That was two months ago, but 62-year-old Win exposed the overpricing only on Thursday -- and netizens ganged up against the resturant owner.

The two-time SEA Write Award winner and national artist said that he and his foreign friends visited Cha-am in Phechaburi province one day in September and went to nearby Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan to have dinner.

His friends wanted to try seafood at a restaurant in the Hua Hin market because they had seen its name advertised on websites. He took them there and found it was an ordinary restaurant, nothing special about it.

His friends ordered the food -- four kung phao (grilled prawns), tom yum soup, shellfish and some local dishes, he said.  

Mr Win said he asked the waitress what the prawns cost and was told she would come back and tell him, but never did.

After finishing the meal, he asked for the bill, because he intended to pay it. He had estimated the total cost at around 1,500 baht or 2,000 baht at most, because the grilled shrimps were not very big.

A small girl brought to bill to their table, and it was an eyebrow-raiser -- over 6,000 baht, with the four grilled prawns charged at 1,000 baht each.

“I looked left and right for the owner to ask about the price. No shadow. Only the girl was looking at us to get the money,’’ he wrote. 

As he was with his foreign guests, he decided not to make a scene. He paid and left.

“We left the restaurant, disappointed because we felt cheated. The seller had no intention of revealing the price when he saw there was only one Thai and the others were foreigners," he said.

Before posting the story, he told some friends about it and learned that this particular seafood restaurant in Hua Hin has been notorious for years for overcharging. However, nobody did anything to correct the problem. Customers complained and never returned. So the restaurant kept doing it.

“I initially hesitated about whether I would make this story public. Finally, I decided to tell it without giving the name of the restaurant. 

"I never kept the bill or took photos of this place,’’ the writer said. But he hinted, saying people could search in Google by using  the key words “seafood restaurant, Hua Hin, cheat” and they would soon know the answer.

He warned readers to ask food prices before ordering. He said mass tourism opened loopholes for unscrupulous people to take advantage of tourists. They did not care that what they did cast the majority of Thais in a bad light and stigmatised the country as a nation of cheats.

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