US woman sues Thai restaurant claiming spicy dish caused irrevocable harm: Is meal too hot to handle?

Picture courtesy of New York Post.

A woman in the US is suing a Thai restaurant due to an intensely spicy dish, ‘dragon balls,’ which she claims is “unfit for human consumption” and is “dangerous to life.” The incident has sparked global controversy.

Neurologist Harjasleen Walia, the woman in question, alleges that she experienced permanent bodily harm after eating at the restaurant on July 15, 2021. She said her mouth, palate, tongue, throat, and nose felt on fire immediately after consuming the dish, causing serious health issues lasting at least two years.

The fiery delicacy, priced at US$11 (380 baht), is advertised as spicy on the online menu of the restaurant. The menu features an image of the dish with red peppers. Despite her awareness of its spiciness and her low tolerance for spices, Walia reportedly requested the server to have a more mild version prepared for her.

According to New York Post, Walia claims she received permanent injuries and would suffer bodily harm as a direct result of the restaurant serving food unsuitable for human consumption. The lawsuit claims that the dish caused chemical burns to her vocal cords, along with the middle concha of her right nostril and oesophagus.

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She also alleged that the staff were ill-prepared to deal with the situation.

Walia’s lawyer is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and legal costs.

On the other hand, Coup de Thai in San Jose, California, the restaurant in question, caters to those who seek hot and spicy food. Their promise to customers is “a true revolution of your senses.” Their website reads…

“Fireworks light up your mouth from our traditional menu that puts the true ‘Thai’ back in command of Thai food.”

A representative from the restaurant said, “We do not use too much chilli spice in dragon balls.”

He also said that there have been no prior complaints about the dish causing medical issues.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.