PETALING JAYA - Operations manager Eizwar Supiar, 39, has second thoughts about dining at his favourite restaurant in Bukit Bintang.
"Although it is dirty, the seafood is good and cheap. But since my last visit, I have to think twice because it has become dirtier," he said.
Eizwar draws the line at rats and has become more aware of leptospirosis, spread by the rodents, from the recent reports in the media.
He said eateries should stop throwing food scraps into drains as they attracted rats.
Real estate negotiator Jaya Gowri, 59, said that while operators should be responsible for the disposing of their waste properly, local councils should upgrade utilities to ensure cleanliness.
"Open drains are common in the older areas. Modern drains are covered. Food traps are a must and operators should also consider pest control measures," she said.
Raja Azelina Raja Shaharin, 42, said people should stop believing that "the dirtier an eatery, the better the food".
"The public should be more concerned with the cleanliness of restaurants," she said.
Meanwhile, restaurant operators said keeping a restaurant clean and pest-free took effort.
Sam Ng, 54, who manages the Subang Ria food court in Kelana Jaya, said that in order to ensure cleanliness, he would fine stall owners between RM30 and RM50 if the surroundings of their stalls were dirty.
"A business is all about money and fines are a good way to make sure they keep the place clean," he said.
Restoran Jamal Mohamed manager Mohamed Sultan, 40, thinks cleanliness is the first yardstick consumers measure a restaurant by.
"I cannot comment about people who go to dirty restaurants that has good food, that is their choice.
"But more people are becoming aware about the importance of cleanliness in restaurants."
Netizens on Facebook and Twitter also gave their two cents' worth on where the dirtiest eateries were and if they would continue patronising them.
Rats were the biggest concern and a number of areas well-known for food were identified for their unhygienic environment.
"Petaling street for sure! big rats running around while u r eating...yucks!" Mandy Cho posted on Facebook.
Lee Heng Leong Try wrote: "Go SS2..all the big rats are enjoy(ing) themselves in the drain."