A woman is suing a Thai restaurant in San Jose, California, over a spicy appetizer that allegedly gave her “permanent bodily injuries.”
The allegations: Harjasleen Walia, a neurologist, tried the “Dragon Balls” appetizer at Coup de Thai in Los Gatos on July 15, 2021, according to the complaint. After eating, she allegedly “felt her entire mouth, the roof of her mouth, her tongue, her throat and her nose burn like fire.”
Walia was reportedly aware that the dish was spicy. Still, she proceeded to make an order but allegedly asked the server to prepare a “less” spicy version for her.
In the end, the appetizer allegedly left her with chemical burns on her vocal cords, esophagus and the middle concha of her right nostril. The suit said she was “poisoned” and “will forever be damaged.”
What’s in the appetizer: The Dragon Balls, which come for $11, are fried “spicy” chicken meatballs made with mint, shallot, green onion, cilantro, kaffir lime leave, chili and rice powder, as per Coup de Thai’s menu. Walia’s suit reportedly blames the Thai chili, also known as “bird’s eye” chili, as the source of her suffering.
Thai chilis can range from 50,000 to 250,000 heat units on the Scoville scale. In comparison, jalapeño peppers range between 2,500 and 5,000 heat units.
What the restaurant is saying: Coup de Thai supervisor Luck Pryer told the Bay Area News Group that they have never had a patron be burned by their dish and require medical attention. While the Dragon Balls are spicy, they “do not use too much chili spice,” she said.
Pryer added that it is impossible to create a “mild” version of the appetizer since the chili is inside the balls. Customers who cannot handle spicy food are instead encouraged to order other dishes in the menu, she said.
Walia is reportedly seeking an unspecified amount in damages. She also seeks remuneration for medical costs, lost earnings and legal expenses.