The hot pot itself is a pan that sits on a portable burner, surrounded by an array of small plates piled high with fresh ingredients. Guests select pieces of food and drop them into the broth to cook, and then dip them into delicious sauces.
For the main hot pot course, Mala Tang serves a variety of proteins including chicken, lamb, all-natural beef, and fresh seafood; starches such as sweet potato noodles, and a plethora of vegetables ranging from bok choy to lotus roots. Those who are "afraid of the chili heat," as the Chengdu locals jokingly warn incoming travelers, can tone down the mala flavor with a mild version of the cooking broth.
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The food was great here. The downside came with the service we received. It was our first time and we didn’t know you offered free parking across the street. When I asked for parking validation, I was turned down until I heard the host honor someone else and my husband had to tell her we overheard her validating parking for another group. Everyone should receive the same service no matter what. Also we had to go grab a waitress to order food, I was left waiting for over 20 minutes while a group who came after us, were served first. It can be perceived as discriminatory, so be very careful of this. Not everyone will be as nice and understanding. Food was great and drinks were delicious.
The menu was confusing having never been to hot pot before, but we took cues from other tables and will definitely be back as everything was amazing!!
This is our second visit to Mala Tang and will not be our last! In our opinion this is some of the best Asian food we have ever had! It was hot and very tasty. My husband had chicken with green beans which was flavorful and the green beans were thick and tender. It came with hot and sour soup with the fried noodles on the side. They were delicious! We have not seen house made fried noodles in years in our area. They used to give a big bowl with the soups and were a real treat alongside the soup. I had a big bowl of three treasures noodle soup. Perfect comfort food! Since I like Asian food on the spicy side, I asked her for the chili sauce. She directed me to the covered cart which held any accent sauce you might want. Not knowing what to select, I mixed random hot and sweet together. It tasted good on a side sample of the soup so I mixed it in. The soup was even better.
Our waitress was very pleasant and helpful. We talked about how much we liked the lunch and she seemed very pleased.
Their specialty is a cooked bowl and a raw bowl which is somewhat like a Mongolian Hot Pot or Asian fondue...a fun dish when you are not in a hurry. (The names are probably wrong.) We had the cooked bowl in our last visit. The meat was well trimmed and tender.
We will definitely return even though it is around 38 miles from our home. We thought it was that good.
Never disappointed at this hot pot favorite! We really like the new menu.
We went for Valentine’s Day. The food was amazing!! They were a little understaffed but the restaurant was packed for the holiday so that was understandable. Park across the street in order for them to validate your parking.
It was a very busy night since it was Valentine's Day and the decorations were sweet. The food was delicious as usual. However, the wait staff was very inattentive after they realized we weren't drinking alcohol and were frequently speaking loudly and rushing around. That changed the ambiance quite a bit. One main course order arrived almost 15 minutes before the other order and then, on top of that, no one was there to light the burner. The waitress seemed annoyed there was no room on the table for the next course, but no one came to bus the table.
Always a good time
Mala Tang is our favorite restaurant. It has delicious food and friendly staff. Every visit we feel welcome and fulfilled.
Mala Tang is great for hot pot. They have tons of options and a fun atmosphere.
Hot Pot experience was a blast!
Mala Tang offers two basic options for diners: hot pot or dry pot. My spouse is a fan of the hot pot; I am not. This is not for culinary reasons, but that I'm not a believer in paying money to dine to end up cooking my own food in vats of boiling broth. (FYI, my spouse is the cook in the household.) For those not wanting to prepare their own food, the dry pot provides a good option to eat highly seasoned, and fairly spicy, preparations. Nevertheless, while I admire the food at Mala Teng, I find dining there less fun than a conventional Chinese restaurant.
Fantastic food. Definitely a cut above
My family and I had the hot pot, with a mix of vegetables and meats, and we loved it! Will be back, since dishes at other tables looked great also. Service was very polite and professional, Jen did a great job explaining the hot pot system, made us feel right at home.
Zhong dumplings and dry pot were amazing!
I’m quite impressed overall. I went here with my friends and it’s all our first time. We will be back with our respective families. We will be back very soon.
Good service and food was very tasty. Noise level was quiet so it was great for a business lunch.
Mala Tang has been one of my favorite Chinese in the DMV area!
Decided to try something different while visiting daughter in DC area. Went on a Sunday night, place was packed, had to wait about 20 minutes for our reservation. There were a lot of Asians in the restaurant- good sign. Sadly, the restaurant was grossly understaffed and service was abysmal. We had never experienced the hot pot style of cooking. No one asked if it was our “first time”. We did our best to order. Food came out, there was no explanation of how to proceed. We placed the meat, noodles, and vegetables in the pot. There was a sauce bar in the middle of the dining area that no one told us about. We watched as other patrons helped themselves to the sauces and did the same. Food was delicious but challenging to maneuver the cooking with minimal utensils and no instruction. The broth was boiling, the flame under the pot was huge. My napkin caught on fire, the broth splattered all over my shirt, and, still, no offer of assistance whatsoever. I threw my flaming napkin on the floor and stomped on it to put the fire out. Not one employee came by to ask if we were ok, or to offer assistance. I don’t think we’ll go back there due to the lack of service. It’s too bad because the place is cute and the food was pleasant. The experience was awful. I can not recommend.
Food was amazing and my 6 year old loved cooking her own food! The hot pots made for a fun activity. We liked the hot pot more than the dry pot and sharing one hot pot was plenty for us. Very large main servings!
Love this place! Hot pot is such a fun group activity. The broth here is so flavorful, the foods are fresh and delicious (the flounder is AMAZING) and the sauce bar makes it easy to create your own flavors. Awesome place for a group of family or friends.
As a foodie, I recommend this place simply due to its authentic Chinese cooking and the convenience location. The grill fish with pickle flavor tastes good, but it would've been better if the restaurant uses live fish. The hot pot is popular in this place, and the ingredients are creative (e.g. beef with milk or wine). I tried some authentic chinese dishes in this restaurant and they were quite tasty comparing to the other SiChuan restaurants in DMV area. Though the cost is a bit higher than the average, I will come back.
so-so food, relatively high prices. The decor is functional, the wait staff okay, but overall, you can get better Chinese food elsewhere at more reasonable prices.
Had a great dining experience, would definitely go back for the Hot Pot
Perfect place for our family graduation celebration. Our waitress explained everything for the hot pot and made some good suggestions, like the cucumber salad. We had a fabulous experience.
This Chinese food is boiled (chicken/fish/meat/vegetables) in a broth that the customer helps by inserting food into the broth at the table but not much flavor for me. Also there is a cart full of spices, herbs, sauces etc...Mala Tang sichuan | hot pot is not for me .
Food was outstanding! Staff was very nice and responsive. The only negative I had was that their wifi was down so I couldn't pay by credit card. I don't believe that is a regular occurrence.
Cooking on the hot pot made it an experience instead of just a meal.
I had a solidly average experience at this restaurant. They were pretty busy and we arrived early for our reservation, the hostess the proceeded to seat several groups ahead of us and at least 2 didn't seem to have a reservation. She seemed annoyed that I inquired whether we could be seated earlier than our scheduled reservation. We were finally seated in the back of the restaurant. The waitress was sweet but overwhelmed and messed up our order. I enjoyed the dumplings and the fish, everything else, including our hot pot was serviceable.
Definitely a great spot.
We were in Arlington (live in MD) and decided to try find a new restaurant. In our opinion, Mala-Tang is the first, we believe, authentic Szechuan restaurant we have dined in! After pursuing the menu and deciphering the choices, we chose the Dan-Dan noodles with finely chopped steak and a spicy pepper oil and seasoning sauce and a Dry Hot Pot for lunch. The noodles were delicious! I was tempted to order more for takeout. Real comfort food with a kick. The waitress was very kind and patient in helping us order. She was attentive without hovering.
The Dry Hot Pot gave choices for protein, vegetable, starch and “other protein” - which were items I never saw on a menu. We selected chicken, broccoli, mini-dumplings filled with a meat mixture and a nugget that was referred to as tempura. It was good. I think it was a lightly fried very dry tofu. I didn’t have a chance to ask. The sauce was spicy with different spices. Cumin was predominate. The chicken was tender, moist and tasty with a spicy sauce.
We would highly recommend Mala-Tang to all of our friends who are adventurous and enjoy trying new cuisine and enjoy spicy food.
We will definitely go back again and try something else. It was a fun dining experience with plenty of hot, spicy and good, fresh ingredients.
Food was amazing!! Our server was very sweet and polite. We would definitely go back again to
Try different dishes. Pot dishes are pretty different.
Food was great , just don’t order the shrimp balls or lobster balls ,I would stick to meat or fresh seafood :)
Took the teens there for dinner - fascinating menu, able to stick to paleo/GF diet easily! Excellent service - our waiter was fast and explained the menu perfectly to we newbies. Love the sauce/pickle bar!
Amazing!! We shared the hot pot, one with the spicy broth and one with the mild. Great place for our Valentine’s Day date, food was delicious and ambiance stellar. Excellent service too. Thank you, Mala Tang! 😊
Good value for food. If you like spicy food, this is the place to go. Hot pots are individual, not shared so your friends can opt for a non spicy broth. Tso’s dumplings are very good. The grilled whole fish is a good sized portion, but it was so good my friend practically ate the whole dish by himself.
This was our second time to Mala Tang. My son who studies in DC requested to go back when I was visiting him. Love the hot pot. Great choice of meat, seafood, and veggies. I love the spicy chicken broth, and others liked the mild veggie broth. They were also able to accommodate a person in our group who had food allergies. Great for groups, pairs, or singletons. They also have other amazing looking apps and entrees. Definitely will be back again.
Excellent service, delicious foods, and large selections of entrees and hot pots! Will return!
Excellent food and great service. Food comes out fast because you get to cook it yourself in the hot pot! The sauce bar is a nice touch. Its almost a blend between Pho and Fondue! Great beverage selection as well.
Excellent food, great service. I've had a lot of hot pot, both in China and outside China. This is one of the better ones. The food is about the same as Uncle Liu's -- certainly not worse - but the decor and ambiance is way better. It's probably a little pricier for that reason, as well as for the location. Conversation is easy: tables are not packed closely together, the walls and floors absorb sound, and the background music is tasteful jazz at a low volume -- perhaps it's not authentic in that way!