The ones that'll hit the spot wherever you are

Whether it’s a comforting yet fiery bowl of malatang, or a mouth-numbing, stir-fry mix of meat, vegetables and instant noodles (aka mala xiang guo), it’s undeniable that mala has its charms. Below, we list a bunch of places that you should visit when you need your usual dose of spice; from mala xiang guo hawker stalls to spicy Szechuan hot pots.

Green on Earth Vegetarian Cafe

Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you have to forgo all the hype around mala xiang guos. A restaurant known for its fragrant stir-fry boasting greens and (surprisingly delicious) mock meats, Green on Earth Vegetarian Cafe should be everyone’s go-to for piquant eats. Just select your options at the usual ingredients section, but be prepared for a spicy and numbing hit as the restaurant dishes out both in equal measure, no matter what spice level you pick.

Where: 386 Upper Bukit Timah Rd.

Mala Hotpot (Happy Hawkers Coffeeshop)

One of the most affordable mala xiang guo options you’ll find in Singapore, Mala Hotpot at Happy Hawkers Coffeeshop provides generous portions of ingredients, plus a very reliable and consistent mala flavour. Located just outside the Bedok bus interchange, this should be every East-siders’s go-to mala xiang guo option.

Where: 204 Bedok North St. 1

Mala Xiang Guo (Food Pavilion - Clementi)

An unassuming stall at one of Clementi’s coffeeshops, the mala xiang guos here made our cut because of its crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside thinly-sliced potatoes, springy instant noodles and good selection of meats and vegetables. In fact, its sister stall just beside it offers some tasty la mian noodles too, including a spicy Szechuan la mian soup.

Where: 443 Clementi Ave. 3

Ma La Xiang Guo (Koufu - HDB Hub)

This one has us salivating just thinking about it. Found at Toa Payoh’s Koufu food court at HDB Hub’s second floor, Ma La Xiang Guo serves some extremely spicy and oily mala xiang guos. Do yourself a favour and load up on quail eggs, chinese cabbage and pork belly, which will all come dripping in oil. Be warned though, the lowest spice level here is probably a medium everywhere else.

Where: #02-30 HDB Hub, 500 Toa Payoh Lor. 6

Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant

With a name like that, you know Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant is all about the spice. And it truly shows in its menu, which is sprawling with a wide variety of unique mala dishes. Those interested in unconventional mala options should try the Mala Pig Brain or the Mala Bullfrogs and Filefish, while others staying safe can choose the Mala Enoki Mushroom and Cold Mala Sticks for meat plus veggie skewers laced with mala flavour. 

Where: 80 Pagoda St.

Three Good Guys

Combining Singaporeans' love for mala and salted egg is Three Good Guys, with their well-known Salted Egg Yolk Mala Xiang Guo. Headed by a local trio that experiments with flavours and food trends to offer their patrons new and interesting dishes, this stall at Golden Mile Food Centre is definitely in a league of its own.

Where: #01-108, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Rd.

Upin Hot Pot

Although HaiDiLao Hotpot gets all the praise, Upin is a strong contender when it comes to spicy hotpot soup bases. This chain establishment offers the Sichuan Spicy Pot, which you can chuck all your meats and vegetables into, and have it turned spicy and mouth-numbingly good. You might also want to try their Signature Tomato Pot while you’re there, as it actually made this year’s SR Signatures list.

Where: #03-87, 6 Eu Tong Sen St.

Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo

This Chinatown hotspot is known for a lot of things, and being budget-friendly is definitely one of them. Go all out and select tons of vegetables such as morning glory and water spinach; then get instant noodles, pork, and beef slices too. Don’t forget to throw in a whole packet of golden mushrooms as well. You’ll soon find out why this place has locals (and tourists even) travelling all across our island to enjoy their pots of spicy stir-fry.

Where: #01-42, People's Park Food Centre, 32 New Market Rd.

Sichuan Kungfu Fish

You can attribute much of the hype around Sichuan boiled fish to this international brand specialising in Sichuan-style mala peppercorn grilled fish. They also offer smaller hotpot sets, personal fish meals and even bowls of mala noodles for single diners, so you won’t have to gather the entire gang just to satisfy your craving for mala.

Where: #B1-132, Suntec City, 3 Temasek Blvd.

Xiao Man Niu Mala Xiang Guo

A mala xiang guo eatery that seems to be aggressively expanding around malls in Singapore, Xiao Man Niu Mala Xiang Guo serves both malatang and mala xiang guo, plus some other mala side dishes. We won’t deny that this one’s a little pricier than we like, but the vermicelli, kelp and okra here go really well with both the soups and stir-frys. And if it's any consolation, you won’t have to sweat it out and bathe in the Singaporean heat, as most of their eateries are air-conditioned. You can also check out some of their halal-certified stalls here.

Where: #01-41 1 Vista Exchange Green, The Star Vista