Perhaps a no-brainer, Crusty’s has combined two of the most well-loved and enduring flavours among Singaporeans – salted egg yolk and mala – in their fried fish skin snack. The Mala with Salted Egg Fried Fish Skin is salty, spicy and numbing, a wake-me-up snack that is said to be 100 per cent free from preservatives.
Prepared in a local factory in Singapore, it is also available in a wide range of outlets including local supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice and at most petrol stations.
At $7.50 per 100 g pack. Visit crustyssg.com
2. King of Melon Seeds
Local snack purveyor, The King of Melon Seeds, is known for its huge selection of snacks in a variety of flavours. And of course, it doesn’t want to be left out when it comes to the mala snack game. Its offering? The Sichuan Ma-La Hotpot, a mala snack mix of broad beans, peanuts and spicy noodle chips. The snack, in the brand’s bestseller list, is said to be addictively salty, and suitably hot and numbing.
At $12 per 280 g pack. Visit kingofmelonseeds.com.sg
3. The Golden Duck
Taking the trend of mala hotpot almost literally, the Sichuan Mala Hot Pot Fragrant Mix is a mix of crispy fish skin, three kinds of fried mushrooms and fried bean curd skin all tossed in a mind-numbing mala spice mix. The Golden Duck, famous for its Gourmet Salted Egg Yolk Potato Crisps and Salted Egg Fish Skin Crunchy Crisps, rates this snack to have a spice level of 6 and a numbing level of 4.
The team supposedly spent half a year visiting several cities in China to study Sichuan cuisine and the origins of mala in order to perfect this new snack – so, you know it’s going to be spicy!
At $7 per 108 g pack. Visit thegoldenduck.sg
Yolky offers delicious salted egg chips but the brand has launched mala chips and mala fish skin, with spices sourced directly from China. How’s the taste? A preview of the products reveal a spicy taste with nice burn for the chips, but less dominant for the fish skin. Theirs is of the higher-on-spice, lower-on-numb variety.
The halal-certified products will be available soon from RedMart, Naiise and the Yue Hwa emporium at Chinatown, so you’ll have to stalk Yolky’s Instagram page (@yolkychips) or their Facebook page for updates. At $8 per pack.
The mala chips from Ooh hit a sweet spot between spicy and numb, which makes it incredibly addictive. It all started because owner Gervor Quek is obsessed with mala xiang guo, and turned his passion into a thriving business.
Besides cassava chips, it is also available in potato chips form ($6 each), and this month, you can find them at Plaza Singapura (Level 6 kiosk outside Kopitiam) and Raffles Place (Change Alley). It is also available via www.ooh.sg and Lazada.
6. Magi Planet
By now, many of you would have tried different kinds of gourmet popcorn thanks to the abundance of flavours from various brands and stores available now. But what about Mala popcorn? If you are curious, local gourmet popcorn brand Magi Planet has their Sizzling Mala Popcorn. The tidbit offers a spicy kick and crunch to every bite, and if you are a spice fan, be warned – once you start you cannot stop!
Photo: Magi Planet
7. Mala Mala
If you like a choice of spice levels, the Mala Mala range of potato wedges ($8) or mushroom chips ($9) comes in either Mild Spicy, Super Spicy or Crazy Spicy.
If you like any sort of spice, forget the Mild Spicy version because the spice is almost absent. The other two varieties fare better in the heat department but can get quite spicy, so expect a burn all the way.
What I like though, is that within each bag, there are smaller-sized packs. You can buy it online at malamala.com.sg or at its store at Paragon (#B1-32).
Photo: Mala Mala
Most of Koh-Kae’s coated peanut snacks are on the sweet side, but Koh-Kae Mala Coated Peanuts ($1.65, at selected Cold Storage supermarkets and $1.70 at Market Place by Jasons) is for those who like a hit of spice.
It is milder than most of the mala products we’ve tried, and the peppercorn is more a hint than a presence, but this is great for those who just want the thrill of mala but not the actual heat. They’ve also got nori wasabi flavour coated peanuts and wasabi flavour coated green peas if you prefer the spicy hit of wasabi instead.
9. Halcyon & Crane
If you are looking for more unusual mala foods, try the King’s Chicken Hash Benedict ($21) from the newly-opened Halcyon & Crane at Paragon (#03-09, Tel: 9721-5121). The dish is an English muffin with gongbao chicken stir-fried with chilli peppers and peppercorns, so expect the heat to be there.
Visit www.paragon.com.sg/stores/halcyon-and-crane for more information.
Photo: Halcyon & Crane
10. Birds Of A Feather
The people behind Halcyon & Crane run Birds Of A Feather (115 Amoy Street, Tel: 6221-7449), which is a great place for modern Sichuan dishes.
Over at the restaurant itself, if you want to have a different mala experience, you can try the bespoke cocktail Women by The Bund. (Check the exact price with the bartender before you order to avoid a nasty shock – it costs about $20.). It has vodka, Sichuan pepper, wasabi, Sichuan red chilli oil and house-made bean spice, and it’ll be a savoury and spicy experience.
Visit www.facebook.com/birdsofafeathersg/ for more information.
Photo: Birds Of A Feather
11. Tino's Pizza Café Singapore
If you love pizza and you love spicy foods, the Mala Surf & Turf Pizza from Tino’s Pizza Café Singapore is a must-try! The hand-tossed and oven baked Napoletana pizza is flavoured with spicy Mala sauce and topped with red and green chilli, peeled shrimp, tuna fish and meat ball – all the ingredients coming together to create the ultimate Mala treat.
Photo: Tino's Pizza Café Singapore
12. Zui Hong Lou
Who does not like fried chicken wings? And when it’s spicy the desirability goes up even more! Like the Chong Qing Wings from Chinese restrobar Zui Hong Lou – crispy, spicy and tender, the taste lingers on your palate after the first few bites, and so moreish that one is never enough. Also try Zui Hong Lou’s fiery Szechuan Fries which are accompanied with an equally “shiok” Szechuan barbecue dip.
Photo: Zui Hong Lou