Stinky tofu is a pungent yet popular snack in several countries such as Hong Kong, China, and Malaysia. However, what are the odds that eating it would land you in the ICU?
A girl and her sister unfortunately found themselves admitted into the hospital after they consumed stinky tofu they had purchased from a night market in KL and suffered severe food poisoning as a result.
Purchased stinky tofu from KL night market
Sharing her experience on the social media platform Xiaohongshu (XHS), the girl wrote that she went to a stall at a KL night market on Aug 10 and bought two boxes of stinky tofu, where it was eaten by her and four other family members.
She noted that while many customers told her that it was the best stinky tofu stall, she said she felt like she was going to fall really ill although it tasted delicious.
Admitted to the ICU
The next morning, she began to suffer severe stomach pains while having breakfast with a friend, leading her to believe that she was having period cramps as it coincidentally was the first day of her menstrual cycle.
However, the pain eventually gave way to diarrhea, vomiting, and a fever. The girl also wrote that by the time her sister came back from work at 9.30pm, she had already vomiting thrice and had diarrhea for 14 times.
The girl’s sister then rushed her to Sunway Medical Centre’s emergency room, where doctors found that her blood pressure levels were at an alarming rate of 60+, prompting them to let her receive intravenous fluids.
It wasn’t until 2am where her blood pressure levels climbed to 96 and she was admitted into the High Dependency Unit (HDU) within the ICU.
Bacteria found in her blood
Much later, doctors revealed to the girl that a certain bacteria was the culprit for her symptoms.
The doctor said they found a bacterium called vibrio in my blood, which is transmitted through contaminated water (similar to cholera).
“Two days later, I received news that my sister had also been hospitalised due to food poisoning. When I informed the doctors and nurses about (the stinky tofu), they immediately knew that we were both hospitalised for the same reason,” she said.
The girl added that after she was moved to a regular ward, her sister was supposed to join her as well but after doctors found a different bacterium in her bloodstream, they placed her at an adjacent room to avoid cross-contamination.
Days later, it was confirmed that her sister had both the rotavirus and vibrio bacteria.
Spent RM13K on hospital stay
After she was discharged, the girl went to ask a a senior from her university whether the stinky tofu was the cause for her symptoms as he had experienced something similar in the past.
“He told me he had eaten at the Kuchai night market on Wednesday (Aug 9), while I had mine at the OUG night market on Thursday.
“He also said he experienced mild symptoms for two days, but two of his colleagues were hospitalised. At that point, I was 100% sure that the stinky tofu was to blame.”
For her 5-day 4-night hospital stay, the girl paid RM13,000, which fortunately was covered by her insurance policy. However, she had to pay another RM1,000 out of pocket.
“This has been a physically and financially draining experience. I hope everyone out there stays healthy!” she wrote at the end of the post.