8 Places To Challenge Your Friends To A Mala Duel

15 August
Mala Delights

Singaporeans love spicy food and it is evident from the fact that the mala trend is still going strong, with no signs of it fading out anytime soon. Call it sadism or just pure insanity but spice lovers just seem to love the pitting themselves up against some of the spiciest of foods. And no matter how torturous it may sound, the satisfaction that comes after conquering a good mala dish is unexplainable.

If you consider yourself a spice master and think that you can handle the heat, here are 8 places for a fiery good mala duel that you can challenge your friends too. Good luck!

Chong Qing Grilled Fish

Photo Credit: fodxfodx


Inspired by the rich heritage of Sichuan’s legend and anecdote, Chong Qing Grilled Fish aims to not only bring diners on a gastronomic journey but also to immerse them in a full sensory cultural experience. Located at Serangoon Gardens, Chong Qing Grilled Fish serves authentic Chong Qing delights with a great deal of spice.

Kick-start your meal with their Signature Charcoal-Grilled Fish Hotpot. You can choose from four different types of fish, seven alluring flavours and other selections to go with your broth. The Spicy Fragrant Sea Bass (S$32) was indeed aromatic. The tender fish was grilled to perfection–slightly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The fish soaks up all the goodness of the chilli, which makes it mouthwatering.

2 Maju Avenue
Singapore 556680
Tel: +65 6702 6680
*Mon to Fri: 4pm – 2am
Sat & Sun: 12pm – 2am
Nearest Station: Serangoon

(Chong Qing Grilled Fish has multiple outlets)



At Guo Fu Hotpot Steamboat, you can enjoy the most personal and authentic premium beef hotpot with free flow Xiao Long Bao. Unlike most steamboat places, Guo Fu Hotpot Steamboat allows diners to have their own little hotpot, which is more personal and hygienic.

With 10 broths to choose from, we are indeed spoilt for choices. They also have a variety of unique soups like Male Vitality Soup, Curry Beef Soup and Elderly Tonic Soup. The Spicy Soup (S$3) was not as spicy as we thought, but you can ask the friendly staffs to add more spice to the soup. And if you need a break from the heat, have some Xiao Long Bao because after all, they’re free-flow!

20 Cross Street
China Square Central
#01-31/32/33 China Court
Singapore 048422
Tel: +65 6557 0906
Daily: 11.30am – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: Telok Ayer

Hai Di Lao


Everyone has definitely heard of Hai Di Lao but in case you haven’t, Hai Di Lao is a hot pot restaurant that serves mainly Sichuan style hotpot with a mix of other styles hot pot. With free snacks, massage chair and even manicure services while waiting for a table, this place is indeed on another level with their top class customer service.

We usually order 4 soup bases so that we can have a variety of soups to try. Their signature soup is definitely the Sichuan Spicy Hot Pot, which is remarkably spicy, numbing but rich in flavour nonetheless. One item that goes really well (albeit rather painful) in the spicy soup is the handmade noodles that the staff will prepare right in front of you.

3D River Valley Road
#02-04 Clarke Quay
Singapore 179023
Tel: +65 6337 8626 / 6337 8627
*Daily: 10.30am – 6am
Nearest Statio: Clarke Quay

(Hai Di Lao has multiple outlets)


Juewei has over 8,600 outlets in China and a good handful of outlets in Singapore. Their outlets in Singapore are mostly conveniently located in MRT stations so it is easy for you to grab some mala snacks before heading to your destinations.

They sell a variety of mala-flavoured snacks, which include Chicken Feet and Duck Tongue. Don’t worry if you are not adventurous enough to try those. They also sell Mala Fishballs and Mala Fish Tofu as well, which can be eaten both warm and cold. Unlike most mala places that drown their food in chilli oil, the snacks here are not too spicy, which makes it really addictive.

Ang Mo Kio MRT, #01-06
*Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Ang Mo Kio

(Juewei Singapore has multiple outlets)

Ma La Xiang Guo 2


Situated in the heart of People’s Park Food Centre, Ri Ri Hong Ma La Xiang Guo is one of the first mala xiang guo eateries in Singapore. As compared to other ma la xiang guo stalls, this place charge by the types of ingredients that you choose instead of charging by weight. This makes it really affordable because you can better gauge how much you are going to pay for.

Like all other mala xiang guo places, you can choose the spiciness level that you want, and we have to say that Ri Ri Hong serves one of the most tongue-numbing mala hotpot–that is if you were to choose da la. Tossed in a burning mala gravy with lots of dried red chillies and spices, you might be intimidated by its looks but the taste of this dish is definitely appetising. The ingredients just soak up all the mala goodness, which makes every bite extremely flavourful.

32 New Market Road
#01, 42, 52, People’s Park Centre
Singapore 050032
Tel: +65 9892 9988
Daily: 11am – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Chinatown

Si Wei Mao Cai

Photo Credit: Si Wei Mao Cai


Chinatown is famous for their Sichuan restaurants and Si Wei Mao Cai is one of them. Recognised for their authentic Sichuan cuisine, the dishes here are slightly oilier because they are filled with lots of fiery hot chilli. However, don’t be intimidated by it because, despite the intensified spiciness, it does not mask the flavours of the dish at all.

They also have a mala xiang guo which allows you to choose the ingredients that you want–the only difference is that it comes in the form of soup and not stir-fried like at most places. Depending on how much you order, we would suggest for you to share this dish because it is quite a sizeable amount.

33 Mosque Street
Singapore 059511
Tel: +65 6223 1170
Tues to Sat: 11am – 2.30pm
5pm – 11.30pm
Sun & Mon: 11am – 2.30pm
5pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Chinatown


Also located in Chinatown, Wan Jia Ma La Tang serves really flavourful ma la soup. Just like any ma la xiang guo, you have to choose your ingredients first and then let the chef work his magic with your order. Here at Wan Jia Ma La Tang, there are a variety of ingredients–ranging from meat to mushrooms to vegetables–for you to choose from.

Mala soups are slightly more palatable as compared to dry ma la xiang guo because they are not as thick and oily. The soup here is spicy but not greasy, which allows you to actually drink the soup without feeling the need to constantly gasp for air or chug glasses of iced water with every mouthful.

1 Park Road
#01-66, People’s Park Complex
Singapore 059108
Daily: 11am – 9pm
Nearest Station: Chinatown

Workbench Bistro Mala Pasta

Photo Credit: Workbench Bistro


Tucked away snugly in the Ang Mo Kio neighbourhood, Workbench Bistro is a hidden gem situated under an HDB block. It is easy to locate this café because of its simple and chic exterior, which stands out from other shops nearby.

When it comes to ma la dishes, hot pot is what we would normally associate them with. Here at Workbench Bistro, their ma la comes with a Western twist. For the Ma La Pasta (S$16.90), you are given 3 choices for the spice level: xiao la (less spicy), zhong la (medium spicy) and da la (very spicy). The pasta was prepared aglio olio style with a deep and rich ma la flavour that was surprisingly spicy but not too oily.

Blk 332 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 #01-1881
Singapore 560332
Mon to Thurs: 12pm – 10pm
Fri: 12pm – 11pm
Sat: 10am – 11pm
Sun: 10am – 10pm
Tel: +65 9779 2147
Nearest Station: Ang Mo Kio

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