Ever tried Malatang 麻辣烫 ... ?
Ever tried Malatang... ?
麻辣烫 (málàtàng), literally ‘numb-spicy-hot’ is a popular Chinese street food with meats, seafoods, tofu, mushrooms and vegetables boiled in a ‘communal’ hot broth of Sichuan pepper (numb) and Chili pepper (spicy) along with other herbs and spices. Usually dipped in 芝麻酱 sesame paste sauce (kind of tahini) or sprinkled with garlic water.
People just pick up the skewers from the broth and will pay upon the number (and sometimes color) of the skewers consumed.
Malatang is believed to originate from the Yangtze River near Sichuan, Chengdu province. In older times, fisherman and people towing boats in the river suffered from the damp and foggy weather along the river. At the shores, meats, fish and vegetables were cooked in large hot spicy soup pots for the river people ready to eat, eliminating dampness, warming up and enforcing immunity.
Unlike hot pot, which is made to order and shared only by diners at a table, malatang is ready cooked foods in shared pots, refilled by restaurant staff. Diners can select on the spot what to eat.