This time it's a special double issue!
Third stop: Korea
Fourth stop: Hong Kong
Korea and Hong Kong represented the start of us getting screwed as foreigners. The first time involved us trying to go to a Korean BBQ restaurant. Not only were they ridiculously unhelpful and didn't bring us everything that was supposed to come with our meal, they also charged us for drinks we never received (though requested).
Later on in Korea we noticed everyone watching Soccer. We decided to go to a bar, get some drinks and watch the game. The first bar we went to refused to serve us alcohol without us ordering food and we had just finished a giant dinner. Thus we moved on until we found another bar. This one allowed us to order drinks and we told them that we only wanted the drinks, no food. This was fine... for a little while. Soon enough the waiter came by again trying to get us to order food. I picked the cheapest thing on the menu (it was probably "extra salsa") and pointed at it. The waiter refused and pointed at other things (all of which were written in Korean). We just shook our head and he went away.
As I was in the washroom, a plate of nachos arrived. Nachos we most certainly didn't want. We finished our beer, left enough money to cover the beer, tax, and tips, and left. Right after we left the waiter came running down the street after us and dragged us back inside. He showed me a bill that was double what it should have been because of the nachos we didn't eat. He kept telling me to pay and I kept saying no and using a gesture I'd picked up there involving your arms crossed (to signify no good, I think...). Eventually I went to the table where we'd left the money, picked it up, handed it to the waiter, and said that this was more than enough for our drinks. He protested again, but I just turned to leave and they let us go.
Perhaps there's some law that you can't sell alcohol without food in Korea? Who knows... it seems a little unlikely considering they sell beer in convenience stores.
In Hong Kong they tried a different tactic. When we sat down to order they brought us a plate of nuts. Being hungry we started nibbling on them while we ordered and waited for our food to arrive and finished off the nuts. Eventually our food arrived and sometime while we were eating they left another plate of nuts on our table. When the bill came we were charged for two plates of nuts, neither of which we ordered and one of which we didn't even touch.
I compare this to being charged for bread in a restaurant in North America where they just bring it to your table at the start of the meal. Wouldn't that be ridiculous? Given the language barrier and the fact the nuts weren't too expensive, we gave up and just paid. Of course they also screwed us by bringing a smaller portion of food than we paid for, but what can you do...