Mala Tang Soup

Mala Tang is a soup and probably the meal I have eaten the most since we have been here.  The local teachers in my center turned me on to it and I have eaten it 5 times a week since.

Mala Tang comes from the Sichuan/Mandarin cuisine and is a form of Hot Pot.  There are many Mala Tang shops all around the city and they are open 18-24 hours a day.  When you go into these shops you get a plastic basket with a number on it and walk to a cooler that feels like the produce section of a market.  You choose the vegetables, meat, and noodles that you want in your soup and then give your basket to the cook.

Here are many but not all the choices you have.  Vegetables: several types of seaweed, cabbage, many types of mushrooms, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, several types of root veg., several types of tofu, and herbs mainly cilantro (coriander).  Meat: several types of cased meat (hot dogs), imitation crab in a couple forms, fish balls, chicken parts (talents, meat, organs), and a hand full of things I’m not sure of.  Lastly the noodles: rice, ramen, and several other types of that very in thickness. china 2 091

Once the cook has your basket they count the items and charge you.  Usually 1RMB per item, so your soup will cost you 8-12RBM (12RBM is $2.00).  Then they stuff your selected items into a pasta-cooking basket and drop them in a huge pot of boiling broth.  The broth is a chicken and vegetable stock base but has some other peculiar spices.  The cook places the items that take the longest to cook in first (meat, noodles, root veg, etc.), and then add the vegetables later during the cooking process.  When finished they serve it in a metal bowl or to-go container with several ladles of the cooking broth and then finish it with raw chopped garlic, red chili paste, a little peanut sauce, and a soy vinegar.

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The soup is amazing, and we usually fill our basket with only vegetables and sometimes noodles, but it is the broth what makes it delicious and a little weary.  The base is chicken and vegetable but it is cooking all day and has cooked hundreds of different items before yours.  Talk about some cross-contamination.  The one thing that makes me feel OK about it is there’s a line of people in there everyday, and it is served so freaking hot that I have to wait 5-10 minutes to eat it.  It is great on a cold day.

We almost have all of pictures uploaded to share with everyone from last few adventures.  We will share them along with the stories in next couple days.  Happy Tax Day to all!


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1 Response to Mala Tang Soup

  1. leslie jacobs says:

    I like that you take the chance with the soup. After all your unadulterated ( no antacids) gastric contents are a ph of 2.. tO PROTECT YOU. THANK YOU gOD..
    So are you guys wearing masks in precaution of the avian flu US NATIONAL NEWS IS SHOWING??
    snowed in Lander 20 inches April 9th..

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