Photo on social media raising questions, concerns about popular Thai restaurant

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NORMAN, Okla. – A picture going around social media has many people questioning the practices of a popular restaurant.

However, the owners of PadThai in Norman say the picture does not tell the whole story.

A picture taken by an OU student showed exposed meat on crates in the back alley of Pad Thai, along Campus Corner.

The caption of the photo asks, “Does this meet health code standards?”

“I think it’s kind of gross, not sanitary,” said Kaleo Cook.

However, PadThai employees say this situation just boils down to different cultural practices and a misunderstanding.

“We would never do anything to make our customers sick,” said Lompai Richard, a PadThai employee.

Employees say family from Thailand was visiting and decided to make jerky for their personal use.

They decided to set the chicken out to dry and then pair it with sticky rice, a common tradition in the area.

“Back in the country, everyone do it over there because that’s the culture. But then they didn’t know that when they do it here, it damages us,” said Richard.

Complaints were filed against the business with the Cleveland County Health Department.

After a visit from a health inspector, Richard says this will never happen again.

“I’m just hoping this doesn’t damage the family business because this is what we live with,” she said.

For some Norman residents, they say this situation just shows the power of social media.

“I think it’s a great way to just spread information about the places that you’re eating at anyway,” said Lauren Easley.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website says PadThai was inspected in August.

It also states the restaurant had violations that directly related to foodborne illnesses.

However, restaurant employees say those violations are being corrected.

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