Mala Town, the newcomer to West Los Angeles is keen to fire up the local dining scene with its jovially contagious hot pot dining experience. Mala Town revamps the Chinese communal dining affair by substituting individual-sized pots for one big metal pot, allowing guests to choose their own hot pot adventure as they please.
Despite the diner’s name ‘Mala Town (Tang)’ translates to ‘mouth-numbing spicy broth’, the restaurant offers more than its name suggests. Mala Town features 4 sets of enticing soup bases, all sampled from the very best of Chinese regional specialities. Dedicated in making the best Sichuan Mala broth in town – the broth is prepared a day ahead through a meticulous process of soaking, simmering and brewing a complex mix of 22 ingredients (7 different fragrant spices, 3 spicy sauces, fresh greens and Chinese herbs) without any artificial flavoring or MSG. The mixture is then allowed to sit overnight for 15 hours to develop the best flavors before serving it with the special house made dipping sauce for a complete hot pot experience.
Distinguishing itself from the pungent flavors of Szechuan Mala Pot, Shanto Beef Pot features a lighter soup base with a primary focus on the original flavor of fresh ingredients. Another specialty pot is Cantonese Seafood Pot which boasts a flavorful full-bodied pork and chicken bone broth slow cooked with Sakura shrimp and white fish. The broth pairs best with seafood and requires a minimum of two days preparation before achieving the final result of a rich creamy white stock. “Guests will find themselves going on a culinary journey, as if they are traveling to different regions of China when they try different broths,” said co-owner Lin Kai.
Renowned as the Chinese emblematic meal form with rich historical background, hot pot is the most popular Chinese cuisine, dominating the dining scene in China with a near total of 0.8 million hot pot outlets nationwide. “There are many distinct regional styles for hot pots. Each has its own history and cultural background but they all share a down-to-earth character which links people from all backgrounds and classes together”, said co-owner Lin Kai. “Hot pot is more than just about the food, it’s about the lively and bustling experience where friends and family huddle around the pot and DIY their own feasts.”
On any given night, chances are Chef Qiu and Co-Owner Lin Kai will be working incessantly in the resplendent realm of Hip Hot, but the duo still managed to open Mala Town out of their 12-hour shifts. Juggling time between their second full-time degrees and work in Hip Hot, they built the entire restaurant from scratch – from restaurant design to managing employees and making decisions on the restaurant’s budgets, menu and decor. “The pressure leading up to opening of Mala Town is just surreal, but I am glad we did it”, remarked Lin.
Mala Town is independently co-owned by Lin Kai and Chef Qiu Tiantian. Located at 2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, Mala Town, features a 1,200-square-foot cosy dining area with patio can accommodate 25 guests. Opening Hours are 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Wednesday to Monday. For more information, please follow @MalaTowninLA on Facebook and Instagram.
@HangryDiary are the sister-sister pairing of Jocelyn and Justine. Their passion for exploring new restaurants inspired them to become food bloggers after graduating from USC and UCLA, respectively. They were raised in Hong Kong but moved to Los Angeles to study. You can often find them eating at the hottest restaurants in town and taking an obscene amount of time to shoot that perfect angle.