If there’s one food craze that’s taken Singapore by storm in the past year — it’s got to be mala! Originating from Sichuan province in China, “mala” literally means “numbing spice” and this fiery sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns has been delighting spice lovers everywhere. There’s just something about that numbing feeling that makes it so alluring.

Credit: Giphy

Even fast food joints like KFC (click to watch our review!) and 4Fingers have come up with mala-inspired dishes on their menu! Thankfully, there’s also been a wave of halal eateries for you to get your halal mala fix 😉 So, if you’re a “die-hard” mala fan, then this guide’s for you, so read on!

P.S. While you’re here, check out these top 15 eateries in Singapore too.

1. Peppercorn

Quietly tucked away at Kandahar St in the Kg Glam area, Peppercorn specialises in the soup form of mala, called malatang. Its founders were actually inspired by the cuisines of Sichuan, Beijing and Shanghai, and its mala sauce is made from Sichuan peppers and dried chilli peppers, giving it its oomph 🔥

There are over 20 types of ingredients to choose from at Peppercorn — from sirloin beef strips to chicken, fish chunks and other instant soy and meat ingredients. The ingredients are charged according to their categories and how much they weigh, and you can choose from 4 spice levels.

What we love about Peppercorn is that their mala hits the spot even though the numbness takes a while to kick in. Not to mention that the broth alone is tasty too. If you’re a novice at mala, you can opt for no spice and ask them for the mala sauce separately. Otherwise, go crazy with their medium or large spice!

#HHWT Tip: Make sure you order their fragrant Scallion Noodles ($4.50) too. With a mix of scallion oil, soy sauces and vegetable oil, this is really flavourful and pairs well with the malatang 🤤

Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: 30, Kandahar Street, Singapore 198890
Opening hours: Mon — Sat, 11.30am — 2.30pm, 5.30pm — 9.30pm, closed on Sundays
Contact No: 9862 2559
Facebook | Instagram

2. Le Fuse

If you’re looking for mala with a variety of other halal Sichuan dishes, then Le Fuse will definitely satisfy your palate. The go-to dish here is their Mala Xiang Guo (spicy dry pot) which consists of typical ingredients like potatoes, luncheon meat, sausages, lotus and black fungus stir-fried in their mala sauce.

Credit: @lefuse_cafe on Instagram

Unlike other mala eateries, you can’t customise your ingredients at Le Fuse, but the generous portion makes up for it, and you can choose from 3 different spice levels. The regular pot costs $12.80 but if you’re sharing with a bigger group, then get the large one for $15.80 instead! Plus, did you know that Le Fuse also imports its peppercorns directly from China so as to keep the taste authentic?

Credit: @jeromelimm on Instagram

If that’s not enough to fire up your taste buds, then order Le Fuse’s other tantalising dishes such as their Chongqing Diced Chicken ($9.80) — chicken breast chunks seasoned with more than 10 different spices are stir-fried in dried chillis and Sichuan peppercorns. Their Sichuan Braised Beef Noodles ($11.80) are a must-try too! If you’re feeling more adventurous, give their Malay-Sichuan fusion dishes a try. The Rice Cake Soto Sichuan ($8) is a traditional soto broth infused with Sichuan spices while the Dendeng Beef Sichuan ($12.80) substitutes normal beef slices with BBQ meat instead 😋

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: 22 Lim Tua Tow Rd, Singapore 547772
Opening hours: 12pm — 2.30pm, 6pm — 10pm (Tue-Thur), 4pm — 10pm (Fri), 12pm — 10pm (Sat-Sun), closed on Mondays
Contact No: 8748 5040
Website | Facebook | Instagram

3. Mala Hot Pot, Paya Lebar Square Cantine

There are so many halal options in Paya Lebar these days — from authentic Chinese hand-pulled noodles to Sichuan dumplings. So, it’s no surprise that you can get your mala fix here too! Head over to the Cantine food court at the basement of Paya Lebar Square to have a taste of this spice paradise 😋

Credit: Hafizah Hamzah on Facebook

At first glance, you might just mistake this stall for a yong tau fu stall as the set-up is the same. Pick a good mix of your favourite ingredients, let the staff know your preferred spice level — mildly spicy, spicy or extra spicy — and you’re all set! You can also opt for a dry or soup version.

Credit: Haida Shortcake on Facebook

For a kick to your taste buds, we recommend choosing spicy or extra spicy but do note that the taste isn’t that numbing. That said, don’t forget to get ready a glass of water before you dig in! The mala gravy is also really rich in flavour and it gets even spicier as you get to the bottom of the bowl.

#HHWT Tip: Though the ingredients might add up to a pretty large amount (more than $10), the portions are quite generous and it’s perfect for 2 to share, so no need to order separate portions unless you’re really hungry!

Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Stall 7, Cantine, Paya Lebar Square, #B1–51, 60 Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 409051
Opening hours: 7am — 10pm daily

4. Mala Hot Pot, Changi City Point Kopitiam

Tucked all the way in the east, Changi City Point’s food court is filled with amazing halal food options and one of them is the Mala Hot Pot stall!

Credit: @malaxiangguoreviews on Instagram

The mala gravy here is super flavourful (but not too overwhelming!) and the numbing sensation is pretty mild. So, it’s great if you’re looking for a perfect balance between spice and numbness. We recommend getting the dry mala to soak up all the flavours. What we love is that the spice levels are really accurate too – you will get what you choose 😊

Credit: @malaxiangguoreviews on Instagram

The downside is that the items here are pricier than other mala eateries on the list so do take note of the prices before choosing them! To get your money’s worth, we recommend sharing with your friends.

Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Stall 12, Kopitiam Food Court, #02-01/02 Changi City Point, 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Singapore 486038
Opening hours: 7am – 10pm

P.S. Think all the good halal food is only in Singapore’s east? Think again! We’ve got 14 awesome halal places that’ll prove the west is the best instead!

5. Mala Hotpot, Hillion Mall Kopitiam

This one is for all the westies! In need of a spicy hotpot soup to warm you up this rainy season? Mala Hotpot at Hillion Mall is where you should go 😉

Credit: Aini Binte Madon on Facebook

The variety of ingredients here is quite limited as compared to other mala eateries on this list but you can still find your standard items like lotus root, sausages, black fungus, mushrooms and potatoes. Get their Mala Hot Pot (soup version) and you’ll find yourself slurping a bowl of piping red soup. Challenge yourself to the highest level of spice — it’s spicy even for those with a high spice tolerance 🌶

Credit: @houjiak on Instagram

But if you don’t intend on burning your tongue with hot soup, we recommend getting the dry version instead. Although this stall ranks high on the spice list, it doesn’t really have that numbing factor. In terms of price, it isn’t too bad either. You can spend around $20+ for a big bowl to share among 2–3 people.

Halal status: Halal-certified
Address: Stall R1, #02–15/16/18/19/20 Hillion Mall, 17 Petir Rd, Singapore 678278
Opening hours: 7am — 10pm daily

6. Yi Zun Beef Noodle (Joo Chiat branch)

You might have heard of Yi Zun Beef Noodle as the first stall to serve halal Chinese hand-pulled noodles in Singapore. Earlier this year, they opened their second outlet in Joo Chiat and they’ve included Mala Pot into their menu!

Credit: Siti Dali on Facebook

Priced at $14.80, the pot includes various ingredients including prawns, sausages, mushroom, vegetables and tofu. You can’t customise your own pot, so it might be a downside if you’re not a fan of these ingredients. However, you can choose from 4 spice levels – no spice, mild, medium and hot.

Credit: Ridzuan Ng 

The Mala Pot is perfect to share if you’re looking to savour their other dishes too. Pair it with mouthwatering treats like their Xinjiang Lamb Skewers, hand-pulled noodles ($9.80) and baked fish for a satisfying meal ☺️

Halal status: Muslim-owned and halal certification in progress

Joo Chiat outlet:

Address: 60 Joo Chiat Road, #01-08/09 Champion Hotel, Singapore 427726
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm daily
Contact No: 6909 9287

BONUS: KFC (limited time only!)

Mala-infused fried chicken? Yes, please 😍 Our favourite fried chicken joint is always finding new ways to make fried chicken even more appetising than it already is, and their latest Mala Chicken is a hit!

P.S. Find out what we thought of KFC’s Mala Chicken in this video.

Credit: @kfc_sg on Instagram

The Sichuan spices are loaded in the crispy chicken skin, making it oh so flavourful. It might not be as spicy as your usual mala dishes but it still packs a punch, and you can taste a slight numbness which makes it suitable for everyone 😋 The promotion will be on till the end of the month, so better get your lips on this fast!

Are you already itching for that numbing sensation? Then, it’s time to gather your fellow mala lovers for a feast and fire up your taste buds 😉

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