Mala seems to have overtaken salted egg yolk as the flavour of the moment. Originating from Sichuan cuisine, with peppercorn as the key ingredient, mala is both numbing (the “ma”, in Mandarin) and spicy (“la”), and for the uninitiated, it can be a painful experience. But for fans, the sensation is heavenly.
Mala is usually associated with hotpot and xiang guo (fragrant pot, or ingredients fried with mala spices), but as it grows in popularity, people have become more creative. Now, you can find it in chips, fish skin and even drinks. Here are the exciting new must-try foods to explore:
Text: Yeoh Wee Teck/The New Paper, Therese Tay / Additional Reporting: Sean Tan