People discovered the origin of those cravings for certain hot pot dishes after 35 restaurants in China were closed due to illegal drug seasonings. The restaurants were using opium seeds to spice up the food and ensure the customers would come back for another dose, dish.
35 Restaurants in China Were Closed Due to Illegal Drug Seasonings
The Drug and Food Administration in China declared that 5 of the restaurants are currently facing criminal charges, and the other 30 are pending further investigations. The closed restaurants varied from a hot pot Beijing chain to a dumpling joint in Shanghai to a noodle shop in Chongqing province.
There is a Precedent of Using Crushed Poppy Seeds as an Effective Food Seasoning
The subject is not new, unfortunately, for the ears of the Drug and Food Administration in China, cooks being known to add crushed poppy seeds to the food. The actual effects that the extra secret ingredient had on the customers are now being looked into by the proper authorities so it is not clear if they indeed offered a buzz or a need to come back and have some more.
In 2014, a person that failed a drug test after eating out helped the police bust a noodle joint in Shaanxi. The same fate was suffered by seven restaurants from the province of Ningxia in 2012 and in 2004, an astonishing 215 restaurants were closed in the province of Guizhou for the same reason.
It’s a Special Kind of Poppy Seeds
The poppy seeds in question were not the same as those we see sprinkled on our morning bagels. There is a special poppy powder obtained from a special kind of poppy that is richer in opioid substances then the regular one. This is why the cooks managed to get away with the extra ingredient in front of so many colleagues and in front of the restaurant managers if we believe their statements.
This kind of poppy is not that hard to find if you know the right person who hangs around the entrances of dark alleys and have around $60 in your pocket, of course.
In order to make it, even more, difficult to test for the illegal substances, the cooks used to mix the seeds up with powders and chili oil, which made the testing possible only with special laboratory equipment.
The Chinese authorities are not facing such a problem for the first time. They have been forced to deal with a supplier that worked with world-famous MacDonald’s and KFC and that were selling them expired chicken, or seafood enriched with gelatin.
It seems that in China home food really is the best food.
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