There are so many Ma La Xiang Guo (Spicy Numbing Stir Fry/ Fragrant Hot Pot) stalls all over Singapore and the newest one opened by 山鸡哥 (Shan Ji Ge) in Koufu at Cineleisure might seem like just another Fragrant Hot Pot.
For those unfamiliar with Fragrant Hot Pot, you can customize the Ma La (麻辣) dishes to your liking, by choosing your own ingredients and choosing your preferred level of spiciness. The spiciness levels range from “small” (least) spicy to “big” (extremely) spicy. A wide selection of steamboat ingredients are displayed next to the cashier for customers to choose. The ingredients are then weighted and you pay accordingly.
Unbeknownst to many, Shan Ji was the first to bring the Fragrant Hot Pot into Singapore in 2009. A popular dish in China, Shan Ji worked at the 313 Somerset Food Republic, catering this Chinese dish to suit the Singaporean taste bud.
Armed with his own secret recipe – he makes his own Ma La sauce using over 30 types of herbs and ingredients – Shan Ji decided to open his own store. According to Shan Ji, the spices in the Ma La sauce are mixed together so that it’s a lot easier to eat.
We tried the Ma La soup with noodles (medium spiciness) and the dry Ma La with rice, and chose ingredients such as fish, enoki mushrooms and pork fillet.
We loved the dry Ma La dish. Our faces were burning, but it was so worth it. The Ma La sauce was flavourful and had a strong taste of spices. It was a huge bowl but we finished it.
The two month old store also offers non-spicy food to suit different tastes. We tried their non-spicy pork bone soup, which was really rich and clear. We could distinctly taste the pork bone and pepper in the soup.
Shan Ji Fragrant Hot Pot uses pork bones from Spain instead of those from Indonesia. According to them, they boil the pork bones whole so that the soup would be sweeter.
They also offer claypot and fried rice dishes. Right now, they have an ongoing promotion where you get a discount every $10 you spend.
Where: 8 Grange Road #B1-01, Stall R1 Singapore
Operating Hours: Sun to Thurs and PH, 7:45am – 10pm. Fri, Sat and Eve of PH, 7:45am – 11pm.
Contact Information: 9817 9106