The make-your-own hotpot trend is spreading in Sydney, with the ever-popular Dixon House food court stall Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang now joined by Malabang. It's the latest fast-eats concept by the Taste of Shanghai Group and sits just next store to its namesake restaurant in World Square.
Referred to as malatang in China, the hot pot experience all starts with a cafeteria-style lineup where you grab a bowl and self-serve from a slew of fresh and dry ingredients, including different meats, seafoods, veggies and noodles. Malabang's design is no high school canteen though, instead opting for a more on-trend look with dark timber highlights, cream-coloured walls and splashes of red.
It's got one serious array of options too, from thinly sliced beef and pork to multiple types of fish balls and spam, along with an entire wall of noodle options and all the vegetables you can think of. Handpick what you want and how much of it, then hand your bowl over to be weighed and paid for. Your personalised hotpot is cooked with the shop's signature broth, which has been made using 16 different herbs and spices and prepared for a total of six hours over four stages.
In China, the soup is usually spiced up, and Malabang's got plenty of Sichuan chilli oil to add on top before tucking in, or you can pre-choose your spice level with one of the marked cards. The condiments bar doesn't only cater toward spice lovers, though — it also includes the option of sesame oil or house-made peanut butter.
In short, the whole malatang experience is quick, cheap and pretty damn fun — so we're glad to see another hotpot option open in our city.