Restaurant loses $ 190 million in value after dead rat has been found in soup

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The dead rat was fished from a pan of boiling broth

A popular Chinese restaurant chain lost about $ 190 million (£ 145 million) at market value after a pregnant woman found a dead rat in her soup.

Restaurant Hotpot Xiabu Xiabu's stock reached the lowest level in almost a year after photos of the dead rat were fished out of the soup with a pair of chopsticks that were quickly distributed online.

The outlet in the province of Shandong is now temporarily suspended.

The outlet reportedly offered its 5,000 yuan (£ 559, $ 729) as compensation.

According to the local news article Kankan News, which spoke to her husband – identified as Mr Ma – he rejected the offer because he wanted his wife to undergo a full body check-up before setting a compensation amount.

The pregnant woman who had been to the hotpot with her family on 6 September found the dead rat during her meal after she had already taken a few bites from the dish.

Mr. Ma also claimed that one of the staff members had suggested that his wife should have an abortion if she was worried about the baby's health, and offered him 20,000 yuan for the procedure.

Photos of the cooked rat quickly spread over the Chinese social media site Weibo, where users reacted with anger and aversion.

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The dead rat was lifted out and placed on a plate

"I want to surrender, I will never eat outside again," said one user.

On September 11, the company's share price reached its lowest level since October last year. As of Wednesday, the market value of the hotpot restaurant is slowly recovering.

"Xiabu Xiabu has always been one of my favorite restaurants, I thought they were pretty clean … I can not believe it", another commented.

"If something happens to her baby, how are they going to compensate her? Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?" they asked.

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Customers enjoy a hotpot at Haidilao, one of the rivals of Xiabu Xiabu

The restaurant initially placed a statement on Saturday that it "excluded" the possibility that a lack of hygiene led to the rat ending up in the hotpot, but later deleting it.

Authorities in the city of Weifang, the restaurant branch where the rat was found, said they would investigate Xiabu Xiabu's restaurant.

Hotpot is a very common meal in China and in other parts of Asia.

A simmering pot of hot soup is placed on a dining table and various vegetables and raw meat are then placed in the pan for cooking.

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