This Chinese restaurant served opium-laced noodles

Opium-laced noodles
A restaurant owner in China has admitted to serving opium-laced noodles in an effort to keep customers coming back for more. Pictured are some opium-free rice noodles with Chinese chives from the L.A. Times test kitchen.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Food enthusiasts may joke about a dish tasting so good that there must be drugs in it. But the owner of a restaurant in China recently admitted to actually putting drugs in his noodles, reported the Xi’an Evening News, according to the BBC. 

In an attempt to keep customers coming back for more, a shop owner referred to as Zhang, admitted to police that he added crushed poppy buds to his noodles at his restaurant in Yan’an in the Shaanxi province in central China.

Police discovered Zhang’s special ingredient during a routine urine test of one of Zhang’s diners, Liu Juyou, during a traffic stop. Juyou tested positive for drugs hours after eating at the restaurant, but denied taking any. He was detained for 15 days on charges of drug abuse.

Suspecting the noodle shop might be to blame, Juyou asked his relatives to help him prove it. Some of his family, who also eat at Zhang’s restaurant, took drug tests of their own and tested positive. 


An anti-narcotics police agent told the South China Morning Post that over time, the opiates in the unprocessed poppy seeds could build up in the body and cause a positive drug test.

Police opened an investigation and found that Zhang had bought a little more than 4 pounds of poppy buds a month ago, and added them to his noodle dishes. 

I’m a noodle soup slurper. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_ 

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