Smoking desserts come with a warning

Smoking desserts come with a warning
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

JOHOR BARU - Smoking desserts may be the craze now, but there are safety measures that need to be adhered to when enjoying them.

Pong Pong outlet owner Yong Cheen Yau, 28, who sells the Korean biscuits that are similar to dragon's breath candy, uses nitrogen as one of the toppings.

He said the gas was not dangerous for consumption provided it was done the right way and the biscuits were eaten immediately.

"We tell customers to let the nitrogen dissolve naturally and refrain from keeping it for hours before eating, as the gas turns into liquid after some time.

"If the cup holding the biscuits tips over, the liquid nitrogen that spills out would be harmful, especially when it comes into contact with skin," he told The Star yesterday.

He added that the nitrogen-laced biscuits should be eaten using the sticks given and not by hand.

Yong, who has four outlets in Johor, said his staff were instructed to put on special gloves while handling the -196°C nitrogen gas.

The snack, priced at RM10 (S$3.25) each, is served in two cups so that the nitrogen liquid can melt into the bottom cup.

The smoke from the gas lasts five to 10 minutes before dissolving.

It was reported that a 15-year-old boy from Alor Setar suffered burns when he poured a pack of dragon's breath cookies containing nitrogen liquid on his palm after buying it from a night market on Friday.

Ice cream outlet Kone also serves smoky desserts but the effect comes from dry ice, not nitrogen gas, said its manager Erina Mohd Kamal.

Dry ice is safer compared to nitrogen gas as the smoke effect only lasts up to a minute, she said.

"We use a small dry ice cube placed in between two cups that hold the ice cream, and the cube melts into a cold liquid that is not harmful when it comes into contact with skin," she added.

She said dried ice could be dangerous when handled with bare hands, and it is a standard operating procedure to wear gloves and use tools when preparing the dessert.

Johor Health Department deputy director (Safety and Food Quality) Zalilah Nasir said no reports of injuries caused by food prepared with nitrogen gas or dry ice had been received.

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