Bet you can’t eat just one…

If you’re taking culinary courses online and intend to one day open your own establishment, then you’re probably already aware that there is no true replacement for solid marketing of one’s product. A restaurant owner in the northern Shaanxi province of China, though, may have found an even more effective (though considerably less legal or moral) way to keep his customers coming back.

An old joke
A number of American sitcoms, perhaps most notably Seinfeld, have told the story of a failed drug test due to consuming foods heavy with poppy seeds. While this idea is a bit farfetched, it seems to have come to light once more in China. Authorities are currently investigating a noodle shop owned by a man who, according to The Independent, goes only by “Zhang.” Zhang has allegedly admitted to grinding large quantities of poppy seeds (which are known to have opiate qualities and dissociative effects on those who consume them) into his food in an effort to keep customers coming back.

The accusation
Liu Juyou, a 26-year-old man, frequented Zhang’s noodle shop in China’s Shaanxi province for some time. After being drug tested following a routine traffic stop, Juyou was notified that he had tested positive for considerable levels of opium. Insisting that he had never taken any illicit drugs in his life, Juyou found himself wondering if his local eatery couldn’t be to blame. Mashable reports that Juyou then had his family eat the noodles from the local shop and test themselves for varying opium levels. When all the members of his family showed elevated levels of opiates, Juyou brought his findings to the local authorities. He was released shortly thereafter, as authorities turned their attention to investigating Zhang​’s noodle restaurant.

Zhang’s confession
Upon investigating the restaurant, authorities were able to determine that Zhang was indeed including traces of opium derived from poppy seeds in his noodle dishes. After questioning, Zhang admitted to purchasing 4.4 pounds of the substance. He indicated to authorities that he then ground it into a sauce that he used to cook. While no sentencing has yet been handed down to Zhang, it is imagined that legal action will be taken against him by civil authorities. Poppy seeds used to be a widely used ingredient in Chinese cuisine until their use was banned given their habit-forming tendencies.

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