A Chinese noodle vendor in China’s northern Shaanxi province confessed to adding opium to his noodles to get customers to come back.
The restaurant’s owner, who is identified only as “Zhang,” according to Fox News, confessed to police that he had purchased 2 kilograms (about 4.4 pounds) of poppy buds for around $100, then crushed them and added them to his noodle dishes.
The scheme came to light when a customer, Liu Juyou, tested positive for opium after a routine traffic stop, according to Mashable. That he had an opium problem was news to Liu, who insisted to police that he had never taken opium, or any other drugs, in his life. The police didn’t buy it, and he was jailed for 15 days for drug abuse.
Still wondering where his supposed opium problem came from, Liu began to suspect that his favorite noodle vendor may have been providing him the opium. He convinced his family to eat at “Zhang’s” restaurant, and have themselves drug-tested afterward. Sure enough, they all tested positive for opium. They went to the police.
The police investigated the restaurant and found that Zhang was, in fact, peddling opium-laced food. He later served 10 days, according to CNN. So apparently in China, testing positive for opium can get you 15 days, but secretly serving opium to restaurant customers is only worth 10 days.
According to CNN, the practice of adding crushed opium buds to foods was once popular in China, but the practice has long since been outlawed, although similar cases of opium-laced food in Chinese restaurants (in China) have popped up in the news as recently as 2012.
Also, according to CNN, the amount of opium in the noodles was not enough to cause any noticeable effects. The extra ingredient was unlikely to lead to an opium addiction, even if consumed over a long period of time. So, in other words, Zhang’s customers don’t get high and they don’t get addicted to his opium-laced noodles, but they did consume enough opium to fail a drug test. In this scheme, everyone loses.
As of this post, there are no known reports of restaurants in the United States, Chinese or otherwise, lacing their food with opium or any other drugs. There was a case of a Denver taco truck selling meth along with the tacos, according to this Inquisitr report, but that was a side business, and the food itself was not laced with meth.
If you are concerned that your favorite Chinese restaurant may be lacing their food with opium to get you hooked, the opium forums at Zoklet say that raw opium has an exceptionally bitter, metallic taste. So if your next batch of Chinese noodles tastes bitter and metallic, you might want to have a conversation with your boss before your next drug test.