A video clip and photos of maggots wriggling on noodles at a Bangkok outlet of a popular buffet restaurant chain went viral on Thursday.
The video clip was first uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday by user Mademoisellesmull, and was later shared on the popular Pantip.com web board by a person using the pseudonym purrpaww.
According to purrpaww, a friend went to Central Ladprao and decided to eat at Shabushi. While she was eating, some of the soba noodles fell on the table and she saw a cluster of writhing maggots feasting on the food.
Purrpaww wrote that the diner took several photos and recorded a short video of the maggots in front of her, paid her restaurant bill and left immediately.
The customer, who claimed to have borrowed a friend's login, posted on the Pantip website on Wednesday night that a friend of his went to have a meal at a Shabushi restaurant in Central Ladprao.
He claimed the friend dropped a piece of soba noodle on the table top in which a shabu pot was embedded.
After a while he saw maggots crawl out of the rim of the shabu pot and swarm over the piece of noodle.
The poster uploaded a video clip and photo showing the alleged incident.
The Shabushi restaurant's management on Thursday issued a statement apologising for the incident.
The statement said it had assigned staff to investigate the complaint and take immediate action.
On YouTube, Mademoisellesmull wrote that the maggots did not come out of the electric table embedded heater but emerged from the tableside.
"I didn't think the video and photos will be widely shared. I initially post them on Instagram and Facebook but my friend asked me to post the video on YouTube as well," Mademoisellesmull wrote.
YouTube user me031223 wrote that the maggots on soba noodles could be a set up in an attempt to attack the restaurant.
Another YouTube user, Ibrahim Benjulamard, wrote that it seemed peculiar that the video clip showed a dish with the restaurant's name in the first few seconds. Instead of slowly panning the camera, the video clip suddenly showed the maggots out of nowhere.
On Pantip, a user who went by the name Kratae Lek Kwa Krarok commented, "To be fair, this can happen in any restaurant at any country."
Pantip user Amecchi wrote that it was worse than seeing cockroaches in restaurants.
Oishi Group, Thailand's leading Japanese restaurant and beverage operator, which owns the Shabushi restaurant chain, later issued a letter of apology to customers on Thursday afternoon.
The Oishi group said it had ordered all 75 of its outlets to undertake thorough cleaning of pots and utensils.
"We even loosened all of the dining tables but did not find a single maggot," said Paisarn Aowsathaporn, Oishi's executive vice-president for food.
"As well, any gaps between the dining tables and pots have been sealed to prevent any insects from emerging. More importantly, we have brought in pest controllers to ensure the restaurants are clean," he said.
Mr Paisarn said Oishi was a leading food service firm and paid a lot of attention to sanitation and food safety.
The group, owned by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, also operates several popular Japanese food chains including Oishi Buffet.
Mr Paisarn said besides the big clean-up, the company also monitored CCTV in the outlet where the maggots were reportedly found but saw no evidence of the incident. He said dishes are normally served hot and maggots could not survive in those conditions.
"We serve two kinds of noodles: shirataki clear noodles and udon white and thick noodles. But the noodles that were covered with maggots as seen in the website posting look like soba yellow-flat noodles, which we do not offer," he said.