The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

NewChinaHand: Drop It Like It’s Hot Pot


Roll up your sleeve, find a vein and head down to…

The nearest hot pot restaurant!

I knew there was a special ingredient! I thought it was MSG…

So, it transpires that certain hot pot restaurants in Mainland China (and who knows where else) have allegedly been spiking their signature dish with opiates, allegedly (again – tough to prove) to get customers ‘hooked’ and to ensure repeat custom.

One report is of a man taking a urine test before and after a trip (no pun intended) to the local hot-pottery, the latter of which tested positive for heroin.

In a survey in Jiangsu province in 2012, as much as 10% of restaurants tested positive for using poopy seeds in their cooking. We like them odds! In the most recent case restaurants in Xiamen were caught out making the chef’s special a little too special.

And don’t be fooled into thinking this is a provincial problem, with crack downs (no pun intended) in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou reaching a high (no pun intended) in recent years, which smacks (no pun intended) of an epidemic and could well be (wait for it…)


So what’s happening? Well, as we all know, Sichuan-style hot pot relies on a number of strong, spicy flavourings to achieve its fragrant, (comfortably) numbing taste sensation (which is delicious by the way. I can’t go a couple of days without… oh, wait…). This can be partially (and illegally) achieved using poppy shells, or a powdered derivative.

Once very popular (understandably), these ingredients are now supposedly illegal, but rumours of covert deals in dried-food markets abound.

Of course, we at NewChinaHand believe the restauranteurs are in it purely for the enhanced flavour. However, it’s difficult to be objective as we also believe the restauranteurs are 60 FOOT MECHANICAL SPIDERS WITH MAGICAL WIZARD POWERS. Also we’re extremely reluctant to bite the hand that feeds. Us. Illegal drugs.

Seriously, kids: stay away from drugs. BBQ is much safer. And has a much smoother comedown.

Selected sources:

4 comments on “NewChinaHand: Drop It Like It’s Hot Pot

  1. fourstarstwobarsabroad
    January 7, 2014

    This is incredible! Thank you for sharing.

    • NewChinaHand
      January 7, 2014

      You’re welcome! Just remember not to drive or operate heavy machinery after hot pot…

  2. @Caliishungry
    April 29, 2014

    Mmmm no wonder why I have this Sichaun hot pot addiction. I haven’t had one in China before, I go to the Sichaun hot pot places in Sydney, where they’re operated by Mainland Chinese. I always seem to want more and more after every visit…

    • NewChinaHand
      April 29, 2014

      Yeah, delicious. And fiendishly addictive! Now you know why!

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2013 by in NewChinaHand and tagged , , , , , , , .

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