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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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Combo Lo Mein
Wooden Earl Mushroom Salad
Shrimp Lo Mein
I have dined here before and been much happier with the food. This time, as soon as we were seated, our waitress advised they could only take cash as they did not have 'good internet' and could not use their credit card machine. Our choices: to leave or go to an ATM to get cash. I walked to Giant and got cash. The food was less than desirable. We all did the Dry Pot option and perhaps should have chosen the Hot Pot instead. The food was just lackluster. Of the 5 of us, 3 of us left more food than we ate and we did not take our leftovers. Our server, even though she was very nice, really didn't seem to be as well versed with the menu items as she should/could have been. I'm not sure what has happened but since I don't really care for 'Resy', which they are switching to and the overall experience we had, I won't be back.
Love the hot pot selection. Good food. Very friendly staff.
Chinese New Year. Dry pot was outstanding.
Food and service were OK. I had the vegetable lo mein, which was tasty after adding condiments, oils & spices from the sauce bar. I also had the vegetable buns that were tasteless so I ended up asking that it be taken off the check.
Birthday dinner for my 16 year old. She brought two friends and we have a family of 5. Lots of food allergies and requirements. Everyone ate and had fun. In the end, even with the tip was $182 for seven who had a delicious and memorable meal. We ordered all we wanted and left only a few crumbs! Waitress (from Russia) was fantastic!
We've always had prompt and friendly service but this night was off.
Our first time with hot pot
This was the worst meal I've had in a restaurant. Food was terrible. Spring roll appetizer came to the table with a frozen core. Really? Hot pot was flavorless. Sauce table was disgustingly dirty. All around a terrible dinner.
While we didn't try the hot pot, the meals we did try were edible, but not notable. Similarly, service was slow and just below the line of friendly. And, the restaurant was cold inside. My guess though is we arrived on the wrong day and ordered the wrong items, because there were a fair number of people in the restaurant. Still, not sure I'd go back.
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!
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.
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!