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Vietnam cafe where fish swim around diners accused of animal cruelty

Some fish were reportedly trampled to death by the diners.

Kayla Wong | May 12, 02:38 pm

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You’ve heard of fish spas in Singapore, where you could soak your feet in a tank while live fish nip at your heels.

A restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, took it a step further and allowed fish to swim around the feet of customers as they dine.

However, it was forced to change the concept after it received complaints of animal cruelty.

Dine with the fishes

The cafe went viral back in late 2018 for its unique concept of allowing fish to swim around the diners in shallow waters on the floor.

Pictures of the dining establishment recently surfaced on the internet again on travel Facebook page, Travel Hit List.

The pictures were mostly taken from a cafe called Amix Coffee.

According to Oddity Central, the cafe had two floors that were flooded up to around 25 centimetres, and fishes swam freely in the waters.

The floors were insulated with two layers of plastic tarp, and furniture legs were wrapped in cotton to prevent damage to the tarp.

The waters were kept clean using a triple filtration system.

Before entering the cafe, customers have to take off their shoes and clean their feet.

Owner loves fish

The owner, 23-year-old Nguyen Duoc Hoa, told Spanish news agency Agencia EFE that he wanted to create a unique concept that did not exist in any other place. 

And since he is from a coastal city and loves fishes, he thought it was a good way to create a business that combines innovation and his hobby.

Changed concept after complaints of animal cruelty

However, barely a few months after the cafe introduced the concept to the public, it was accused of animal abuse.

Critics said the fishes were in a stressful environment as children chased after them at times, despite the rules forbidding them to do so.

In a previous interview with Agencia EFE, Hoa said that while most families “don’t cause any problems”, there have been some “naughty children who try to catch the fish, and their parents don’t say anything”.

When that happened, he had to ask them to leave.

Malaysian Chinese-language news agency Sin Chew Daily even claimed some fish had been trampled to death by customers.  

The cafe has since changed its concept, removing the fishes from the floors and placing them in clear tanks that are placed around the cafe instead.

This resulted in some disappointment for tourists who visited the cafe in hopes of dipping their feet in the fish-filled waters.

But the cafe still has quite an Instagram-worthy rooftop where diners can chill out.

Nice.

You can watch some videos of the cafe when customers could still have close contact with the fish here and here:

Top image via Amix Coffee/FB

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