The ones that'll hit the spot wherever you are
The ones that'll hit the spot wherever you are
- By Sharmaine Loh
- | Jan 07, 2021
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.
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.
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
The newly reopened Chinatown Food Street boasts six new steamboat and BBQ ala carte buffet concepts, one of which is Mala Steamboat (She Jian Shang Mala Huo Guo). Dine at the refreshed alfresco space with a steaming pot of spicy-numbing soup filled with seafood and meats. At $19.90 per person, it’s a value-for-money meal, especially with its free-flow of fried gyozas and boiled dumplings.
Where: Smith Street, Chinatown.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The world’s largest and award-winning mala tang chain has hit our shores. China-based Yang Guo Fu, which has over 6,000 outlets in countries like Japan and Australia, has now opened at Singpost Centre and Bugis Village.
Try its three best-selling signature broths and sauces to keep your mala cravings satisfied: Spicy Mala Beef Broth, a rich, nutritious stew that’s rich in collagen; the vegetarian-friendly Tomato Broth which is packed with vitamins; and Mala Ban, a sauce that brings a delightful kick of spice from the northern provinces of China.
Where: Singpost Centre,10 Eunos Road 8 #01-150; Bugis Village, 233 Victoria Street.