People are against banning Thai dish that can give you liver cancer with one bite
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People are against banning a controversial Thai dish that can give you liver cancer with just one bite.
Now, I'm sure many of us are partial to a spot of Pad Thai or Tom Yum every now and then without anyone rushing to get it wiped from the menu.
However, there is one particularly debatable dish from the beloved cuisine that has seriously divided opinion given its extremely deadly status.
Extremely popular in the Thai province of Khon Kaen, koi pla is a plate of minced raw fish ground up with herbs, spices, and lemon juice and is eaten by millions of Thai people.
The dish is particularly popular in one of the nation’s poorest provinces, Isaan.
So what makes it so lethal?
Given its grave risk if prepared incorrectly, it's not surprising that people are now trying to ban koi pla.
"It’s a very big health burden around here," the liver surgeon told Agence France-Presse.
He continued: "But nobody knows about this because they die quietly, like leaves falling from a tree."
The 'silent killer' disease has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers if left untreated by surgery.
Khuntikeo and his team have spent years providing healthcare and information to villagers from the Isaan region after finding out as much as 80 percent of inhabitants from some communities were found to have ingested the deadly parasite.
However, during the struggle, the health professional has been met with some pushback from those who are totally against banning koi pla.
"They’ll say: 'Oh well, there are many ways to die'," Khuntikeo said.
"But I cannot accept this answer."
Interestingly, those who are resistant to the change in spite of koi pla's serious health risk claim that cooking the fish - which is the best way to kill the parasite - completely ruins the taste.
Not only that - but some members of the community are hesitant to say goodbye to the somewhat convenient meal.
One farmer from the Khon Kaen province, Boonliang Konghakot, explained: "I used to come here and just catch the fish in the pond...it’s so easy to eat raw."
Thanin Wongseeda, another villager who was being screened as part of Khuntikeo's initiative, revealed: "I’ve never been checked before, so I think I will probably have it because I’ve been eating (koi pla) since I was little."
Luckily, Thanin did not show abnormal liver symptoms following the ultrasound screening and resolved: "I don’t think I will eat (koi pla) raw anymore."
However, speaking about other members of his community - the villager declared: "They will not quit it easily."