Zhangliang Malatang (Albany, North Shore, New Zealand)
Do you know what Malatang is? Originally created as a street food in Sichuan this common type of Chinese dish is basically a very spicy and mouth numbing soup dish where you can choose any ingredient to come with it. Ingredients such as vegetables, meat, seafood, tofu, variety of seafood balls, noodles and the list goes on. Think of it as Mongolian Barbecue where you can put any ingredient on display to your bowl and let the chef prepare it for you, but instead of it being stir fried, with Malatang it is cooked with a soup.
The term Malatang comes from the words “mala” which means spicy and “tang” which mean soup, just the name alone means a lot and coming from Sichuan province you will know this thing is potent. Recently Malatang is becoming more and more popular, we had tried several places already here in Auckland first was Hot and Spicy Pot and the Hi Sweety Hot Spicy Pot where we both tried their spicy broth, in both visit it was only me and my daughter since my other half can’t handle the spices from this dish but at Zhangliang Malatang it will be my wife’s first time to give it a go.
It was hard to convince her in coming here but at the same time she was intrigued because me and my daughter enjoyed it so much even though it was painfully spicy, we still loved it. So, the moment has come and as we enter the place, I thought she was brave enough to finally do it, what she did do before committing was first ask if they offer it in a non-spicy version, which they did and that’s how I managed to make her eat here. Anyways we will get there, me and my daughter are slowly training her to handle the heat, so every time I cook something I add chillies on it bit by bit until her palate gets trained.
Back to our place today, what you expect here is like the other Malatang places where you have a portion in the restaurant where you can pick ingredients from the shelf and place in a large bowl. Once done you bring your bowl to the cashier where it is weighed then paid for. After that you will be asked what soup would you want with it, most seasoned malatang diners usually grab the spicy ones but for us we will just get the mild one.
We just grabbed one bowl rather than individual ones as their bowl size was quite huge, for the ingredients we chose mostly seafood, with prawns, squid tentacles, squid balls, fish tofu, tofu, lamb, mushrooms, meatloaf, quail eggs, Chinese cabbage and noodles. We just asked for individual bowls so I can make my broth spicy as I want it to be thanks to the condiment section where there are tons of options.
Overall, the soup was very tasty but I can’t compare it with the other two that we already had tried since we did not get the spicy soup this time. But with the help of condiments, I achieved the spiciness level I need. It was a good experience, my wife loved it. Zhangliang Malatang can be found in other countries too, I guess it is quite a mature brand already since everything from cutleries, serving bowls, restaurant layout and ingredients on offer are quite uniform across they countries they are in. Will surely be back in this place but next time it will be the spicy one for me.
Zhangliang Malatang 张亮麻辣烫
Address: 7B/21 Corinthian Drive, Albany, Auckland 0632, New Zealand