CHINA - The owner of a noodle restaurant in China's northern Shaanxi province has confessed to lacing his dishes with opium to keep customers coming back for more, according to multiple reports.
The unusual secret ingredient came to light when customer Liu Juyou tested positive for opium following a routine traffic stop earlier this month, the BBC reported. Liu insisted that he had never taken drugs in his life, and suspected a noodle shop he frequented may have been to blame, the Xi'an Evening News reported, according to the BBC.
To prove his innocence, Liu convinced his family members to eat the same noodles, then test themselves for drugs. When the family members tested positive for the same drug, police opened an investigation into the restaurant, and discovered other customers were also unknowingly consuming opium.
Liu, who had been detained for 15 days, was released, and his charges were dropped.
The restaurant's owner, who goes by the name "Zhang," admitted to police that he purchased 4.4 pounds of poppy buds for $100 in August, and had been grinding them into a powder that he added to the noodles, the Xi'an Evening News reported, according to a Google translation. This amount of poppy is not habit forming, but can show up in drug tests, reported Hua Shang Bao newspaper reported, according to CNN.
Putting poppy in noodles, sauces and other dishes was once a popular practice in China, but has since been banned, The Week reported.
Mashable/Sept. 24, 2014
Opium-Laced Noodles Gets Chinese Restaurant In Hot Water