The street food of China : Ma La Tang

21 Jun
After spending nearly a year in Beijing, my view of Chinese food had been broadened.  Everyday I would find something cheap and new to try.  One of my early favourites was ” Ma La Tang” or “Numbing Spicy Soup”
Ma La Tang

Ma La Tang

Ma La Tang Stalls are  very common in Beijing.  It is basically any kind of meats on stick dip in the hot oily pepper soup.  As I’ve found out, it really helps warm up your body in Beijing’s cruel winter.
The “Ma”pepper spice is originally from Sechuan province  which is common in the Sechuan cooking. 
You would either love it or hate it, as it leaves the numbness after taste on your tongue. 
 How to properly eat Mala Tang

How to properly eat Mala Tang

The proper way to eat ma la tang is to grab a plate covered in plastic bag,  pick the sticks you want from the cooking stove  put them on your plate, step back and let other people do the same and just eat away!   When done eating , give the plate back to the cook, they will count the sticks and you’ll pay according to how many sticks you have on your plate.

The price for each stick range from 0.5 RMB to 1 RMB which is super cheap, and it’s favourite for both local and some foreigners who can handle the spiciness like my roommate and I.
The Ma La Tang Guy @ Nanluoguxiang

The Ma La Tang Guy @ Nanluoguxiang

My favourite Ma La Tang place is in Nanluoguxiang, where there are lots of chilled cafes and bars in Beijing’s old area of Gulou.  The shop is nothing special but for some reasons my roommate and I think that it is the best Ma La Tang we’ve found so far. 

From time to time, when I stop by the street to meet my friends for a meal or some drinks,  I couldn’t help but stop by the stall to grab a stick or two of the glass noodles.


One Response to “The street food of China : Ma La Tang”

  1. audioearth June 7, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    you like ma la tang? the same as me, i think ma la tang is very delicious, i like it very much, now i am in chengdu city, do you chengdu? in chengdu you will see all the people In the street are eating spicy hot soup or barbecue, it is very common.

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