Mala Tang

4.5
473 reviews
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$30 and under
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Asian
The inspiration behind Mala Tang is the street food of Chengdu.. Here you'll find the streets filled with diners sitting at tables gathering around bubbling hot pots, in which dozens of dried chilies bob up and down in an oily red broth.

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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What 473 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.0
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CM
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food

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WF
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mala tang has delicious food, great service, a fun atmosphere and everything we love in a restaurant. It is our go to place for family visiting and special moments. Our obvious recommendation is the hot pot. I really appreciate the vegetarian options.

We love the team there especially Margaret. She is warm and welcoming every time!

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

The menu is rather limited, so be sure to check it on line before reserving. You can choose hot pot (cook your own raw ingredients in hot broth) or dry pot (chef cooks same selection of ingredients for you - but with only one flavor profile offered). It was an interesting experience, but pretty hot in the restaurant. So, it was fun as a group, but we don’t need to go again soon. The waitstaff was very nice and helpful.

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MY
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Mala Tang is the most authentic Szechuan food in the DMV area. Great hot pot, great dry pot, you NEED to try the twice cooked pork!

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ZM
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 3

Food was amazing, service was not that great. They only had two waitresses for the large restaurant and got pretty busy while we were there. We ordered hot pot and it took almost an hour to bring us the ingredients to do this.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food is amazing and the waitress was very nice.

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EO
1 review
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 2

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.

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S
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

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!!

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J
Baltimore
156 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

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.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Never disappointed at this hot pot favorite! We really like the new menu.

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OT
Columbus
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

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.

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N
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 2

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.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Always a good time

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WF
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mala Tang is our favorite restaurant. It has delicious food and friendly staff. Every visit we feel welcome and fulfilled.

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HK
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Mala Tang is great for hot pot. They have tons of options and a fun atmosphere.

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A
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Hot Pot experience was a blast!

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o
Washington DC
317 reviews
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

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.

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OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food. Definitely a cut above

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JT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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D
Richmond
11 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Amazing food!

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MP
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Zhong dumplings and dry pot were amazing!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Good service and food was very tasty. Noise level was quiet so it was great for a business lunch.

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MY
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Mala Tang has been one of my favorite Chinese in the DMV area!

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T
Orlando
28 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 4

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.

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JL
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 4

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!

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

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.

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P
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

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.

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j
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

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.

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AG
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Had a great dining experience, would definitely go back for the Hot Pot

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EG
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

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.

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FO
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

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 .

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MT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

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.

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CL
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 3

Cooking on the hot pot made it an experience instead of just a meal.

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CF
Los Angeles
8 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

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.

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OT
Little Rock
4 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Definitely a great spot.

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J
Baltimore
156 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

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.

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V
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

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.

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t
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was great , just don’t order the shrimp balls or lobster balls ,I would stick to meat or fresh seafood :)

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B
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

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!

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