Dragon Hot Pot (一麻一辣) – Popular Mala Soup in Melbourne, Open 24 Hours
While October is not winter in Melbourne, the weather can still get quite chilly. During my 2 weeks stay in Melbourne, most nights were really windy and a hot bowl of soup was perfect anytime. I was craving for mala one day and a reader recommended Dragon Hot Pot (一麻一辣). Guess what, I went there for dinner thrice during my visit.
Once they give you a table, you can join the queue, take a huge golden pot and go nuts selecting the items from the display fridge. There is a good choice of fresh meats, fillings, noodles, vegetables and more. We are familiar with Mala Xiang Guo, but Dragon Pot is famous for Mala Tang (麻辣烫), which is cooked in soup. It is less salty and oily than Mala Xiang Guo.
After picking your favourite ingredients, the pot goes on the scales and you pay by the gram. There is a minimum of 400g per bowl, so prepare your tummy for it. No matter what you choose, it will be $3.20 per 100g. For our first meal, I was quite reserved because I was worried to pay a higher price if I took too much meat. But after finding out the pricing, I ordered huge portions of meat during my second visit.
I was really hungry and ordered a 700g pot full of meat, meat balls, cabbage, marinated beef, intestines, wagyu beef and fresh pork. It cost less than 20 AUD. Trust me, get more fresh wagyu beef! The mushroom pork balls are good too!
There are four spice levels (little, medium, spicy, and dragon), so the hot pot is ideal for those who want to bring a friend who can’t quite handle their spice yet. I went for the medium spicy level which was SHIOK! I like that the soup wasn’t too oily and there was a good balance of spiciness and fragrance.
The spiciness provided some warmth in the cold weather, but it wasn’t enough to send us into a “spice high”. It did leave my nose running for a little while during the meal, but that’s about it.
It is cheap and casual dining, so I don’t think it is fair to complain about how ingredients were cooked unevenly. On different days, some meat came a little more chewy but I am totally fine with it. I love the selection of ingredients!
The tables are small, and the space is pretty cramped, but the mala tang is cheap, delicious, and really packs a punch. The queue can be insane, especially during dinnertime and over the weekends but the wait is definitely worth it. They also have another outlet on 251 Swanston Street and 433 Elizabeth Street. Also, they are open for 24 hours, and is one of Melbourne’s famous late-night haunts.
Dragon Hot Pot (一麻一辣)
Address: 213 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000