The Latest Food Trend To Hit Malaysia Might Be Dangerous To Eat

The so-called Dragon Breath cookies have become pretty popular in pasar malams and food bazaars recently.

Cover image via Instagram

Dragon Breath cookies have become very popular in the pasar malam (night market) and food bazaar circuits recently, with many curious individuals eager to experience the "smoky" biscuits themselves

The so-called Dragon Breath cookies are infused with liquid nitrogen to make the cookies seem like they are emitting smoke. When you take a bite, the nitrogen-laced biscuit fills your mouth with a dense, vapour-like gas that you can breath out through your nose or mouth... like a dragon.

However, it seems that nitrogen-laced cookies might pose harmful side effects to those who consume it. Most recently, a teenager from Alor Setar, Kedah suffered blisters on his palm and pain in his throat after eating the cookies.

In a report by New Straits Times, 15-year-old Mohd Aiman Mohd Ridwan said he felt as if boiling water was poured on his palm when he held the cookies. Although he applied ointment on his palm when he got home, he woke up the next day to blisters on his palm, which was also swollen.

Furthermore, he complained of a sting in his mouth after eating the cookies and is still experiencing pain in his throat more than 30 hours after

His parents and siblings were also said to have felt a slight pain on their tongue after consuming the treat.

A report has been lodged with the Consumers' Association of Kedah (CAKE), who revealed that they have received five complaints on the "smoky" cookies so far and referred the cases to the Kedah Health Department for further investigation.

Which begs the question - is liquid nitrogen actually safe for human consumption?

Liquid nitrogen is used for a wide range of things, such as in freezing food products for transportation, coolants for computers, and in medicine for removing unwanted skin and pre-cancerous cells.

Liquid nitrogen is also widely used in the culinary world, such as in preparing and instantly freezing food and drinks like ice cream and cocktails, or to create an impressive cloud of vapour when exposed to air.

Using liquid nitrogen in cooking is not harmful as long as safety measures are taken, as the liquefied gas is extremely cold and can cause frostbite or cryogenic burns if not used and handled properly

Liquid nitrogen vapourises when it is exposed to air, creating a dramatic fog.

Image via Cory Doctorow

The nitrogen - which has a boiling point of -196°C - actually evaporates into a gas before the food items are consumed, so the chemical isn't actually present by the time the food in ingested.

However, it is important to make sure that all of the liquid nitrogen has evaporated before any food or drink prepared with the chemical is consumed

Ingesting even a few drops of liquid nitrogen can cause serious damage to your mouth, oesophagus, and stomach.

In a report by BBC, science writer and fellow at the Royal Society of Chemistry John Emsley said, "The liquid also quickly picks up heat, boils and becomes a gas, which could cause damage such as perforations or cause a stomach to burst," he says.

So, do take note of the above when you're trying out the Dragon Breath cookies or any food items prepared with liquid nitrogen!

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