PINELLAS PARK, Florida - Known in Pinellas Park for their authentic Vietnamese cuisine, Thang Long serves up a variety of Asian favorites. But the restaurant was not the favorite of a state health inspector -- the Division of Hotels and Restaurants handed Thang Long a long list of violations, 47 in total on the restaurant's February 13 inspection.
Among the issues were clean utensils stored in a dirty drawer; an employee spotted washing their hands for less than 10 to 15 seconds; insecticide stored near food; temperature violations on the cooked duck and bean sprouts; roach excrement by the cutting board; and rodent droppings found in the back storage area.
Last week, we stopped by to follow up on the state's previous inspection. Employee Leon Le agreed to take us on a tour of the kitchen.
"So this is where you make all the food back here?" we asked.
"Yes, sir," said Le.
Inside, we found clear signs the restaurant was working to make improvements.
"I think it is very important. We are trying to make money ... but we're not trying to make anyone sick here," said Le. "You know, the food we cook we eat ourselves, too."
Le said the restaurant is now under new management and employees are better trained.
"We all make mistakes, you know. So sometimes they wash and go a little too fast. But we keep ourselves clean as you see," said Le.
Everything appeared up to code until we asked to take a look in the walk-in cooler.
"I can't let you go in there," said Le. For unknown reasons, the cooler where food is stored was off limits to 10 News.
Le did provide a copy of the restaurant's latest inspection report as required by law and said in the end it's about keeping the public happy and healthy.
"If customers sick, they are not coming back. And we not making money like that."
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