White note on top of Closed notice: "Excuse us but we have no electricity."
On February 22, Van S. passed by Kim Long, a Chinese restaurant in Playas de Tijuana; the restaurant reportedly contained a rat cage and insects inside the kitchen about a week before.
"It was empty, but it's not the first time Chinese restaurants down here suffered from bad publicity," Van said to me on February 24, "a couple years ago, there were several reports/video of dogs being used as food and the story became viral and people here stopped going to Chinese restaurants and several closed due to that. We forgot about it, until recently.”
Van is an American that relocated from south San Diego to Playas de Tijuana, a beachfront neighborhood about nine miles west of the U.S.-Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro.
"Recently, the city has been enforcing checkups on food establishments a lot more here," he said.
"After the inspection and closure of the [Kim Long] establishment, inspection and verification personnel found that the restaurant owners covered the [orange] clausurado closure seals with a white note containing the following message: "Excuse us but we have no electricity. It is under repair and we re open on Tuesday, thanks,"" reported the Noticias de Tijuana news outlet. "The municipal government of Tijuana in recent weeks has closed Chinese food restaurants due to irregularities, mainly due to the unhealthy cuisine of its kitchens with the presence of rats and cockroaches."
The news outlet posted a video on their Facebook page of the inspection of the beach town restaurant, and the unsanitary conditions came to light.
According to other news outlets, director of inspection and verification Adolfo García Dworak clarified that there is no certainty that the establishment would sell the rats to the public, so the owners were summoned to court.
"We have reviewed most of the restaurants and they have met the requirements," García Dworak said in the reports, "there are minimal restaurants that we have met with those conditions; of 50, we had to close four."
In Tijuana, the news was shared hundreds of times on social media platforms and received over a thousand comments in which the majority were negative, and some were objective. "They had a rat cage in their kitchen," commented Miguel about the reports, "they could've put "they had a mousetrap in their kitchen to control pests ....""
Arturo said: "there is a possibility of eating rat or anything else [elsewhere] .... but they brought it to the Chinese [restaurant] because it is easier to criticize them."
In 2017, a San Diegan gave the Kim Long restaurant a four star review on Yelp. ".... It was pretty good," said the reviewer, ".... a bit pricey for TJ. I will say they do give you large portions [and] will go there again, and do recommend it."
"They'll close them for awhile," Van said, "then they will pay their fine and clean up the restaurant, then they will re-open."
"They should require people who handle food," Chonwua suggested underneath the news report, ".... to be in the view of the consumer — like behind a glass window."
Director García Dworak reportedly said that the closed establishments will be fined between 800 to 30,000 pesos ($42-$1,576 USD), and that they will have to remain closed for up to 40 days, while inspections continue.
China de Oro is the other Chinese restaurant in Tijuana that was closed after it failed a recent inspection.
"It's not only restaurants," the director said in the reports, "we are verifying that all the shops of the city have their corresponding permits and that they have the health, hygiene and safety conditions to which they are obliged."