Rat causes Chinese restaurant chain to lose £145 million in value

Imagine fishing a dead rat out of your meal. That’s what one customer discovered last week while dining out at a popular Chinese restaurant chain, local media reported.

Photos and video of a dead rat found at a branch of Xiabu Xiabu – boiled, hairless with legs outstretched – sandwiched between a pair of chopsticks after being fished out of a vat of broth have since circulated on Chinese social media.

Shares of Xiabu Xiabu in Hong Kong plunged 12 percent Monday and Tuesday causing the company’s market value to plummet around £145 million. The stock recouped some losses Wednesday.

Xiabu Xiabu specializes in hot pot, traditionally a large family meal where various meats, vegetables and other ingredients are cooked at the table by diners in a giant pot of bubbling soup and consumed immediately. It’s a fun, sociable meal popular across China  – a country with much regional variation in cuisine – and chains are cropping up alongside mom-and-pop stalls.

After the rat report surfaced, the local market supervision bureau dispatched personnel to check the restaurant. No traces of rats were found though the branch was ordered to suspend services, according to a statement.

The last thing you want to find in your house… let alone your dinner

Authorities said, however, that the restaurant had committed other violations relate to stagnant water and purchasing food from unlicensed suppliers.

A call after regular business hours to Xiabu Xiabu’s general company line on Wednesday went unanswered.

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