Top 12 Haunts for the Most Delicious Mala in Singapore
March 28, 2018
Lets start with a quick introduction to mala, especially for our non-chinese friends. The term málà is a combination of two Chinese characters: “numbing” (麻) and “spicy (hot)” (辣), which can be attributed to the sensation typically felt after consuming mala. This popular Chinese sauce is oily, spicy, and usually includes sichuan pepper.
This mala list is one that has been painstakingly compiled by my colleagues and I. Everyone in the office chipped in with suggestions, thus you may be assured that the list is rather comprehensive and includes stalls from all over Singapore.
For the sake of a fair comparison, we have standardised the level of spiciness, and amount of ingredients that we ordered at each stall. Every mala bowl featured here is in the spice level “xiao la” (low level of spice), and comprises 3 vegetables and 2 meats. We judged the dishes based on how numbing and spicy they were, and the overall flavour. Read on, and share this post for a numbingly-good time!
Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo at People’s Park Complex Food Centre
Arguably one of, if not the most, popular mala xiang guo in Singapore, Ri Ri Hong’s popularity is undeniable. They have 2 stalls in the same food centre, just to cope with the high demand.
Their version of mala xiang guo is not too spicy, but contains a copious amount of garlic — which could be the reason for its fame, as Singaporeans are known to love their garlic. There is little to no numbness due to the minute amount of peppercorn. While this version is a far cry from being authentic, one cannot deny that it is extremely fragrant and delicious. We ordered 3 vegetables and 2 meats for $7, pretty cheap I must say. Note: options for less oil, salt and msg are also available. Come early, around 11am, because once 12pm arrives, the queue gets crazy long.
Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo
Address: 32 New Market Road, People's Park Complex Food Centre, #01-1036 and #01-1152, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm daily.
Ma La Xiang Guo at People’s Park Complex Food Centre
If the insane queue at Ri Ri Hong is too much for you, Ma La Xiang Guo (also at People’s Park Complex Food Centre) is a viable alternative with a much shorter queue. Their mala dish is served in a fancy bowl adorned with traditional Chinese motifs. The mala here is fragrant, and pretty spicy for a “xiao la”. It is also closer to the authentic mala, and less garlicky than Ri Ri Hong’s. We paid $9 for 3 vegetables and 2 meats.
Ma La Xiang Guo
Address: 32 New Market Road, People's Park Complex Food Centre, #01-1060A, Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 11am to 9pm daily.
Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant outside People’s Park Complex
Peanut sauce mala? How interesting! Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant, a stall also located in Chinatown, sells mala xiang guo with the addition of peanut sauce. The creamy and savoury (yes, it is not sweet at all) peanut sauce provides a slight nuttiness to the mala xiang guo. However, while the mala bowl looks visually creamier than others, the actual peanut flavour is hardly discernible. This version is quite spicy for a “xiao la”, and it is quite mouth numbing. We spent $7 for 3 vegetables and 2 meats, which is really affordable.
A few things to note : the stall owners converse in Mandarin only, and only takeaway is available.
Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant
Address: 1 Park Road, #01-K99G People's Park Complex, Singapore 059108
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 9pm daily
Ma La Xiang Guo at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre
A recommendation from our boss, the mala xiang guo at Bedok Interchange’s Hawker Centre leaves a rather numbing, herby and “cooling” sensation that lingers. For those who prefer their mala xiang guo with less oil, this version definitely fits the bill, as it is pretty dry, and not oily. We ordered 3 vegetables and 2 meats for $8.
Ma La Xiang Guo
Address: Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, 208 New Upper Changi Road, #01-48, Singapore 460209
Wan Xiang Mala Xiang Guo at Kovan
Located at Kovan along the same stretch as Teo Heng Porridge, Wan Xiang Mala Xiang Guo is a fully air-conditioned shop. If you are taking a bus, drop at the bus stop called Opp Glad Tidings Church, and cross the road. Unlike the other mala places mentioned in this list so far, Wan Xiang charges their mala hotpot by weight instead of the number of ingredients. As usual, we ordered the xiao la, which, despite armed with bits of dried chilli, was not very spicy. Or numbing, either. I would say that it’s more garlicky than anything else.
Wan Xiang Mala Xiang Guo
Address: 1008 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534746
Opening Hours: 12 pm to 2am daily.
You Ma You La at Ang Mo Kio
You Ma You La has a few outlets, and we paid a visit to the one at Ang Mo Kio. Overall, the mala here is pretty salty, oily and numbing. I’ll recommend eating this with a bowl of rice, to even out the saltiness of the mala bowl. Similar to Wan Xiang, the ingredients here are charged by weight, and not by the number of ingredients picked.
You Ma You La
Address: 51 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, S-11 Food House, Singapore 569922
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm daily.
Yi Lu Fa F&B at Bugis
This mala stall is for those who have sudden cravings while shopping along the ever-popular and busy Bugis Street! Yi Lu Fa F&B serves local tze char dishes, as well as mala xiang guo! Granted, their mala xiang guo isn’t as fragrant or savoury as the other mala xiang guos on the list, but plus points for its affordability and accessibility.
Yi Lu Fa F&B
Address: 3 New Bugis Street #03-39/40, Singapore 188867
Phone: 6338 9665
Mobile: 8204 9674
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 10pm daily.
Ming Tang Jiu Gong Ge Hotpot at Bugis
If you are looking to treat yourself, perhaps this is the mala place to go. Look forward to a splendid and gigantic seafood mala feast (and we really mean GIGANTIC) — you will find plenty of fresh hot pot ingredients, from kurobuta pork and mala chicken, to spicy baby lobster and vegetables. More than 10 spices are used to make the soup, and the signature mouth-tingling sensation was definitely present after every sip of the mala soup. It definitely doesn’t cost less than $10, like the other places on this list, though.
Ming Tang Jiu Gong Ge Hotpot 名堂九宫格火锅
Address: 470 North Bridge Road, #01-02, Bugis Cube, Singapore 188735
Opening Hours: 11am-11:30pm daily
Ah Gu Kaka Wa at Djitsun Mall
Ah Gu Kaka Wa was a recommendation from our office’s biggest mala enthusiast! She raved about its mouth-watering aroma, and the entire team headed to Djitsun Mall for a taste of this superb mala. The mala xiang guo here is really fragrant, and I recommend choosing rice cakes as an ingredient in the mala xiang guo, as it is thin, chewy and has a delightful texture. Try their BBQ bullfrog (my first time trying bullfrog) too! It tastes pretty much like crab and is pretty darn fantastic!
Ah Gu Kaka Wa
Address: 5 Ang Mo Kio Central 2, #01-01, Singapore 569663
Phone: 6757 3358
Opening Hours: Mon to Thurs: 11am to 11pm, Fri to Sun: 11am to 1am
Halal Mala Hot Pot at Paya Lebar Square
This entry is for our Muslim friends. It is pretty rare to find Halal mala xiang guo, so when we heard of Mala Hot Pot, a muslim-owned mala stall at Paya Lebar Square’s Cantine, we were really excited. The mala xiang guo here is tasty and not oily, albeit a tad salty. While it lacked the typical “numbing sensation” of mala, my Muslim friend, who tried mala for the first time here, really enjoyed it.
Nonetheless, pricing here is rather expensive. Not only is there extra charge for different spice levels (Xiao la $1.50, Zhong la $3 etc), we ordered 3 vegetables and 2 meats for $12.40.
Mala Hot Pot
Address: 60 Paya Lebar Road, #B1-51 Paya Lebar Square, Singapore 409051
Phone: 6702 1877
Opening Hours: 7am to 10pm daily
Ri Ri Sheng Mala Hot Pot at Tampines
Popular among students from the nearby Temasek Poly, Ri Ri Sheng has earned praises for its mala xiang guo which promises to deliver both “ma” and “la”. The xiao la mala bowl is chock-full of peanuts and dried chilli bits. It is rather numbing and quite oily, so I’ll recommend sharing it with a friend, or pairing it with rice. As we visited during non-peak hours, we didn’t have to battle the long queue. We had 3 vegetables and 2 meats for $8.50.
Ri Ri Sheng Mala Hot Pot
Address: 823A Tampines Street 81, Singapore 521823
Tian Tian Xiang Shang at Pasir Ris Hawker Centre
This mala hotpot stall has been included on our list, due to its prime location at the newly-opened Pasir Ris Hipster Hawker (which I love). I would say that Tian Tian Xiang Shang’s mala hotpot is the one to pick when you are on a diet, but still craving mala. We ordered the xiao la, which was totally not oily at all. It wasn’t very spicy either. Additionally, it had less salt, which makes it understandably a little less flavourful than your typical mala hotpot. We ordered 3 vegetables and 2 meats for $7.
Tian Tian Xiang Sheng
Address: #02-21, 110 Pasir Ris Central, Singapore 519641
And, we have completed our examination of these 13 mala spots! Have you ever wondered why mala is always served in such big bowls? That’s because it is meant to be shared with family and friends! The mala trend is still going strong, and we hope that we’ve helped in your planning for a mala date!