The Trouble Began With a Rodent Limb

I read today as I sat in the cafe looking at the rain about a very sad restauranteur. Sad because business at her Chinese restaurant is down more than 70%. The photo in today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette showed Rachel Wang setting a table for lunch in a forelorn and empty Hunan Gourmet.

The trouble began last month, when a patron discovered a tiny rodent limb in their order of vegetable moo shu. Ouch! Since then the restaurant has laid off employees and changed the suppliers of the bamboo shoots and wood ear mushrooms, that might have been the source of the dastardly deed.

The family returned the take-out order and got their $51 back, but photographed the rodent part as it sat in its bath of moo shu. Laboratory analysts say it appears to be “the front foot and partial leg of an unknown variety of rodent.” Wang suspects it came from China, in one of the cans of the now-banned supplier’s mushrooms or bamboo shoots.

Even though the board of health has given Hunan an approval, another restauranteur recalls just how hard it is to rebound after one of these incidents. “I felt her pain when they were going through it,” said Peter St. Martin, owner of Sylvesters, who 20 years ago had a similar scare.