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The unhygienic food practices at a famous Chongqing hotpot shop in Guangzhou have been exposed by undercover journalists, sparking nationwide disgust.
The hotpot shop was alleged to have reused the oil from its soup stock every day by keeping and reheating customers’ leftover soup, and then serving it to customers the following day.
According to Chinese media via Lianhe Wanbao, the reused oil could have been served to at least 560 customers a week. Furthermore, it was reported that the broom used to clean the toilets and floor was used to clean the pots as well.
Undercover Guangdong reporters visited the hotpot shop to investigate the process.
The restaurant employees would first take the leftover spicy soup base and pour it into a bucket. The chef would then scoop out the chilli oil and get rid of whatever ingredients were left in the base.
The chef then added chilli and butter and left the soup to simmer for a few hours before serving it to customers again.
If customers requested for more chilli in their soup base, the chef would take the chilli oil from customers who had dined at the restaurant earlier that same day and add it to the diner’s hotpot.
The chef allegedly claimed that customers were unable to taste any difference.
The oil was changed once a week, according to the reports. If the restaurant served twenty tables of customers a day, with four customers at each table, there would be 560 people sharing the reused oil base in a single week.
Experts said that the oil contained many germs and bacteria. If a person with a contagious illness were to eat from the hotpot, the reuse of the oil would cause the illness to spread very quickly among customers.
After the news broke, netizens quickly took to social media to express their disgust and outrage at the restaurant and its owners.
Chinese news site Feng News also reported that the journalists who first exposed the restaurant had alerted the authorities, and that official investigations against the restaurant were underway.