Level 1, South Entertainment Mall, Mall of Asia, Pasay
Operating hours: Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Imagine this: It's a dark, dreary day in Manila. The rain has been pouring non-stop since the morning, leaving you a little lethargic, to be honest. You're so sluggish that the thought of curling up under your warm blanket entices you a bit too much. But here's an opportunity you don't want to miss; after all, when else can you slurp away happily a steaming bowl of soup courtesy of a spicy hot pot spot? Yep, you've read that right. Spicy. No, it's not just the "additional chili upon request" type of thing either—this one's the real deal and it's all thanks to Sichu Malatang.
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Spice it up and sweat it out at this malatang hot pot spot in Pasay.
A form of street food from the Sichuan Province, malatang is the Chinese region's own take on the hot pot. Typically, hot pot is cooked tableside by the diners themselves but what sets Sichu Malatang apart is that the steaming hot bowls are quickly prepared in the kitchen by Chinese chefs, true to its fast food/street food approach.
Similar to a buffet line, this grab-and-go spot has countless options for your bowl. Think fresh greens, various noodles, meats, and of course, seafood which you can add as little or as much of into your bowl of choice. A 300-gram malatang bowl (starts at P330) is perfect for solo eaters while the bigger 1-kilo malatang bowl (starts at P1,100) is good for four.
In terms of cooking styles, you can go for a steaming hot bowl of malatang for the traditional hot pot or perhaps try the Malaxiangguo style for a dry pot approach. The noodle joint has a five-level hierarchy for their dishes with level one being most tolerable for the average Filipino. Five, the highest in the scale, isn't even on the the Mall of Asia branch menu and can only be found in their first branch in Double Dragon Plaza. One gram of spice costs P1.10 for malatang while it costs P1.36 per gram for the Malaxiangguo style.
In case you need a little extra something to take the heat off, order a stick or two, or three of their street food sides (prices vary). Top picks for this are of course the Chinese sausage, a savoury bite that's popular in Taiwan; the glutinous and sweet Rice Cake Slices, and if you're feel that the heat is lacking, the Spicy BBQ Skewers.
Also read: The SPOT.ph Guide to Chinese Food
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