For some more adventurous eaters, spicy foods are often an exciting dish to try. After all, though urban legends had proclaimed that eating spicy foods could give you an ulcer, the credit for that belongs to the Helicobacter pylori. That is why doctors in the Hubei province of China were dumbfounded after seeing the case of a 26-year-old man whose spicy food, they say, burned a hole in the wall of his stomach.
The young man, whose name has not been reported, had consumed a mala soup. According to Japanese news site Rocket News 24, the dish's name - málà - literally translates to "numbing hot". The dish is an extremely popular type of Chinese hot pots, which are like fondue pots.
Mala soup can typically be ordered with differing degrees of spiciness and this unfortunate young man decided to be brave and have the hottest one. The gamble did not pay off. Shortly after polishing off the plate, the man began to feel sharp pains in his stomach. Soon afterwards, he vomited blood. He was immediately rushed to a local hospital in Wuhan.
At the hospital, doctors discovered a hole in the wall of the young man's stomach. Because he had no previous medical history of gastrointestinal illnesses or ulcers, doctors determined that the mala soup had burned right through the lining of his stomach and through the wall.
It may seem that the doctors were reaching for a diagnosis with this case, but at this hospital, a full 15 percent of stomach illnesses that enter the doors are from hot pot related problems. Doctors have even nicknamed the bunch "hot patients".
According to the Herald Sun, the dish is traditionally prepared with Sichuan pepper, local spices, and chili pepper, the combination of which serves to provide a numbing sensation. However, many Chinese restaurants are reportedly switching out the expensive natural ingredients for cheaper, synthetic ones - which, some speculate, may be behind such issues.