Friday, January 16, 2015

Sarku Japan at the Maine Mall

I originally was going to post something about my fear regarding the next Captain America movie being too "bloated" with a huge cast, but instead, I think I'm going to take advantage of this forum to do a PSA.

Don't eat any food served by Sarku at the Maine Mall.

Like you, I used to like getting some Teriyaki at Sarku once in a blue moon.  I figured, "hey, it's cheap but tasty, and they actually list the calorie counts for an "average" serving.  Why not?"

Well, I'll tell you why not.

We all know the layout of every single your average Sarku.  It looks like this when you approach it.

That's not actually the one at the Maine Mall, that's the one on the Sarku website.  Picture credits go to them.

But still, you know the layout.  Guy A takes your order, stabs a Styrofoam plate with a toothpick, gives it to guys B and C who cook the food and serve it up for you.

It's all well and good, and for years Sarku was how I would treat myself before a movie, after an extremely long day, or some other thing that made me want to have an evening be "special" without being "expensive" or "too special" or "actually special, as opposed to more like a footnote on an interesting day, really."

I'd eat there about once every six months or so.

But here's the thing.  Maybe it's just poor training at the one I work at, maybe it's that nobody's died yet, maybe people figure food poisoning just comes with mall food, but I'm amazed Sarku hasn't been called on something.

In front of guys B and C are large flat skillet surfaces.  These are used for everything from cooking chicken, shrimp, and beef to steaming vegetables and noodles.  A simple squirt of sauce or water, and you've got a great all-purpose cooking surface.

What I saw, however, was disturbing.  At one point, right before I ordered, I watched guy B (I'm going in order from right to left here, so he was the second guy) was using a large scoop to lift raw chicken strips from a bin to put them on the skillet.  I assume his scooping device doesn't touch anything else, because, well, raw chicken is covered in stuff that can make you sick.  However, he was using one of the flat spatula-like devices they use to hold the "end" of the scoop so nothing fell out.

"Okay," my brain went, "obviously what he's going to do is take that now-contaminated scoop and put it somewhere to be washed.  Or maybe he'll just stir the uncooked chicken with it for a bit, then guy C will use a fresh, clean spatula to move the chicken over to his area so raw chicken won't then be used to touch cooked chicken an- oh dear god, he just stuck the raw chicken spatula into the vegetables."

You know what's on raw chicken?

Rave party Good N Plentys?
The picture up above doesn't show it, but at the Sarku in the Maine Mall, there's a large box next to the skillet.  Someone can lift the top off, stick a utensil inside, and push a bunch of vegetables out of a hole in the side of the box directly onto the skillet.  A squirt of water on top, put a dome lid on top, and you have quickly-steamed vegetables.

However, if you're going to stick a contaminated utensil in amongst the vegetables, I can pretty much guarantee you that the odds of you getting every single vegetable it touches out are nil to "don't even try to pretend it happened."

Those bacteria are going to sit in there, growing, and considering vegetables don't cook as long as the meat products do, I bet you that there's not enough cooking time for the bacteria to be killed off before the vegetables are served.

So let me reiterate:  Sarku Japan uses tools covered in raw chicken juice with their uncooked vegetables.  DO NOT EAT AT SARKU JAPAN IN THE MAINE MALL.

Unless you like the moisturizing spray that comes from repeated toilet flushes.

Needless to say, I ordered the shrimp with no vegetables.  

Just kidding, I walked away in disgust.

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