Apparently in part of China there is a bit of an epidemic of "hot" food sending people to the hospital. One thing that stands out in this article -- but wasn't questioned by the journalist -- is that it seems they are not spicing it with real food items but with chemical additives. So be careful what you eat in China, maybe stick to fresh dogs from the market and natural spices. UK Daily Mail: Spiciest soup on the menu burns hole through Chinese man's stomach lining The 26-year-old male vomited blood after eating traditional mala soup Doctors at hospital in Wuhan decided soup had burned through stomach Man had no history of ulcers or other gastrointestinal disorders The traditional Chinese dish is prepared using Sichuan pepper, a local spice, and chilli pepper. The combination is known to cause a numbing sensation when consumed. Most restaurants serving the dish offer it with varying degrees of spiciness. According to local reports, many Chinese restaurants have begun to replace the natural, more expensive ingredients in hot pot dishes for cheaper, synthetic additives that replicate the spiciness.