Hot Pot and malatang are two very popular fast food items within China. These two tasty dishes are enjoyed by the locals and by tourists that visit the country. We’re going to take a deeper look at hot pot and malatang so you can discover why they’re such a big hit in China and other parts of Asia.

Malatang: Why does this Chinese fast food dish rock?

Malatang is a street food (fast food) in China. It is commonly sold at local vendor stands out in public. People generally travel up to the stands and purchase a bowl of this scrumptious dish. The malatang vendor will then make the customer’s dish according to their preferences.

Malatang originated in China in ancient times. The region of Sichuan was the area where this dish was first created. In those days, Chinese sea workers needed a quick and easy meal to get them through the day. The area Sichuan where they worked was along the Yangtze River. This place was damp, foggy and very cool. The sailors had to create a dish that contained spices to keep them from getting sick in this environment.

The spices they used were the Sichuan pepper and dried chili peppers. These spices became known as mala and they would form the bases of malatang or mala sauce. In China, mala means spicey or hot. Malatang is roughly translated into English as spicy hot pot. This dish remained a favorite of commoners for thousands of years. The hot pot dishes that are also enjoyed in China has its origins from malatang.

Hot Pot

Hot pot is more of a soup based dish. While it did evolve from malatang, hot pot is defined by its cooking and serving method and not by hot spices. This dish was also a favorite for local sea workers. Hot pot is prepared by using different types of soup broths. That forms the basis of this dish. After a customer orders their version of hot pot, it is cooked and served to them hot in a bowl.

What makes malatang and hot pot so popular in China?

Americans love their pizza, cheeseburgers, and French fries but the Chinese love their hot pot and malatang in the same way. These foods are quick, flavorful and can be purchased almost any place in China. There are literally thousands of stands and restaurants where these two dishes are purchased. Keep in mind that most people eat hot pot sitting down at a restaurant and malatang while they’re on the go. However, both dishes can be quickly prepared and served for dining in or takeaway.

What ingredients go in hot pot or malatang?

Malatang is defined by its spicy mala sauce. All malatang dishes will have some type of mala sauce in it. Keep in mind that not all mala sauces are the same. Their key defining characteristic for mala dishes is its spicy sauce. Other ingredients include various meats, vegetables, noodles and/or rice. Hot pots have soup based broths which forms the backbone of the dish. They too contain the same ingredients as malatang. Both dishes are inexpensive and are extremely popular all over China.


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