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One woman's meal appears to have come to an abrupt and stomach-churning end after she found a cockroach in one of the dishes while dining at House of Seafood in Punggol.
"Disgusting! Almost [bit] into the food already!" wrote Kristine Giam in a Facebook post, which is accompanied by images of the insect in question lying alongside several pieces of dim sum.
She told Mothership that the incident happened on Oct. 19 at lunch time.
In her post, Giam said that as no manager was at the restaurant at the time, she was attended to by staff who did not have the authority to "make [a] decision".
"[They] only offer[ed] to waive the affected items after I requested. Almost half the food we didn't touch after the cockroach was found."
"I still [paid] the bill which includes service charge and tax," she added.
After deducting the affected food and items that were not served, the bill came up to S$42.60.
Giam said that as compensation for the ordeal, staff at the restaurant offered her a S$50 voucher, which she declined as she did not think she would visit the restaurant again.
Restaurant's owner says it didn't come from kitchen
Speaking to 8world, House of Seafood's owner, Francis Ng, apologised for the incident while suggesting that the insect had not originated from the restaurant's kitchen.
"Our kitchen is very clean, and the dim sum are placed in steaming baskets before being served, there should be no problem at all," said Ng, who speculated that the insect might have flown into the restaurant and landed on the plate after the food was served.
He also cited surveillance footage, which he alleged showed Giam arranging the contents of her plate for a photo opportunity.
Ng claimed that the customer had taken out the two remaining siu mai from the basket and put them on her plate, before finding a "good angle" in front of the restaurant's signage to take a photo of it.
Ng told 8world that Giam had asked for the entire bill to be waived after the incident and that when offered compensation for any medical expenses that may arise, she declined and instead asked for "a very large" figure.
"[...] I couldn't accept it, she then said that she was going to make a complain. We eventually waived the cost of four dim sum items, including the siu mai."
However, Giam told Mothership that she did not ask for any compensation; "I merely ask for a waiver of my bill because we didn't eat the [leftover] food after we found the roach," she said.
As for the accusations of staging, Giam said that she had moved the siu mai to make sure that there were no other insects in the basket, and also that she could take a clear picture of the cockroach.
She said that the insect appeared to be dead and countered Ng's claim that it had flown in by saying that the cockroach did not have any visible wings.
The customer also told Mothership that she had made a complaint to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) about the incident.
SFA: Food safety lapses detected
Responding to Mothership's queries, SFA confirmed they had received the feedback and that their officers had detected food safety lapses at the restaurant.
"Enforcement actions will be taken against the implicated food operator. We have reminded the food business operator to ensure good housekeeping and compliance to food safety standards at all times," said SFA.
Ng had also told 8world that the restaurant has since stepped up its hygiene measures, including increased cleaning, pest control twice a month instead of once, sending employees for a food hygiene course, and making sure that doors are tightly closed behind them to prevent insects from flying in.
Mothership has reached out to House of Seafood at Punggol for further comment.
Top image from House of Seafood at Punggol's Facebook page & Kristine Giam's Facebook page
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