Medicated in Hotpot Paradise: Restaurants in China Serving Food Enriched with Opium

"I just got back from China, and I'm so high, I have no idea where I am. What parking lot is this? Is this Boston? San Francisco? Hong Kong?

“I just got back from China, and I’m SO high…I have no idea where I am. What parking lot is this?”

“Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment…215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates.”

For China Real Time, Richard Silk reports: Chinese consumers are used to food safety scandals, from toxic heavy metals in their rice to cooking oil scraped up from the gutter. After those outrages, they might be grateful for some good old-fashioned painkillers in their soup.

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“Last month a noodle shop owner in Shaanxi province admitted dosing his dishes with poppy buds after a customer tested positive on a drug test.”

The website of Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official information agency, reported Thursday that restaurants around the country are routinely spiking their dishes with poppy shells, which contain opiates like morphine and codeine, to keep customers coming back.

Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment, Xinhua said. The tactic isn’t new – 215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates way back in 2004 – but has been receiving increasing media coverage as multiple incidents have come to light.

Last month a noodle shop owner in Shaanxi province admitted dosing his dishes with poppy buds after a customer tested positive on a drug test, according to a local paper (in Chinese). A clutch of Shanghai restaurants were reportedly busted for the same thing last December (in Chinese).

The punishments for these infractions are surprisingly light, in a country not known for its lenient treatment of criminals. The boss of one lobster joint in Shanghai got off with a year in prison and a 10,000 yuan ($1,636) fine, Xinhua said….(read more)

WSJ

– Richard Silk. Follow him on Twitter @richardjsilk


3 Comments on “Medicated in Hotpot Paradise: Restaurants in China Serving Food Enriched with Opium”

  1. Mike says:

    This is why I don’t live in China. I’ve been cooking this way for decades… and nobody has complained even once.


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