Outrage erupts as diners complain of poor experience and overpriced HK$22 bottle of mineral water at Yau Ma Tei cha chaan teng

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13th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) In a recent online post that has gone viral, a netizen expressed her discontent with a dining experience at a popular cha chaan teng in Yau Ma Tei, sparking a wave of anger among fellow internet users. She criticized the restaurant staff for their rude behaviour, claiming they treated her with disdain and made her feel like a beggar. Furthermore, she lamented the mediocre quality and excessive saltiness of the food, which she felt did not justify the high prices. The netizen also revealed that on the day of her visit, she needed water to take medication, forcing her to purchase a 500ml bottle of mineral water from the restaurant at a staggering price of HK$22. Upon learning about the exorbitant cost of the bottled water, other netizens expressed their shock, commenting, “HK$22 for a bottle? They’re just robbing people” and “You can buy it for HK$5 at a convenience store downstairs.”

The dissatisfied diner took to Facebook to share her grievances, recounting the unpleasant encounter she had at the Yau Ma Tei cha chaan teng. She mentioned that when she entered the restaurant, there were only a few tables occupied, and despite not having finished placing her order, a male staff member abruptly walked away, displaying impatience. She lamented, “The man treated me as if I were begging for food. I didn’t even finish stating my order, and he left.”

As she urgently needed water to take her medication, the diner called the staff member back to place an additional order for water. She clarified that she did not request complimentary water but agreed to purchase a 500ml bottle of mineral water priced at HK$22. However, she was met with impolite and loud behaviour from the staff member, who seemed irritated by her request. The diner did not disclose the exact details of the verbal abuse she endured or provide photographs of the food, but she criticized the excessive saltiness of the dishes and expressed her disappointment, stating, “It’s really expensive, and it doesn’t even taste good.” She also found the iced lemon tea “difficult to drink” and ended up taking only a few sips.

In hindsight, she regretted not leaving the restaurant immediately, acknowledging her mistake, saying, “I feel stupid for not walking away.” In her emotionally charged post, she exclaimed, “This place is simply awful! The issue is not just the high prices; it’s also the fact that the food is terrible. It’s like paying to feel uncomfortable.” She further explained in the comments section that while the price of the bottled water was high, she did not criticize it because it was a “clear case of buying and selling.” However, she expressed her dissatisfaction with the staff’s attitude, stating, “I’m not happy because I’m not begging them to give me water and still be treated poorly.”

The post ignited a heated debate among netizens, with some remarking that the cha chaan teng in question had gained a reputation for its subpar food quality, poor service, and high prices. Comments such as “I’ve been there once, and it was just average. I won’t go again” and “It used to be good, but now it’s just crowded with people” were common. Others criticised the steep price of the bottled water, with remarks like “You can buy water outside for much cheaper. HK$22 for a bottle? They’re just robbing people” and “Dear, you went upstairs to buy a HK$22 bottle of water, and you had to climb so many stairs. I thought you were crazy. You’re in Yau Ma Tei, not some remote mountain area. There are plenty of places around where you can buy it. By purchasing such an expensive bottle of water, you’re fueling the increase in prices.”