MALA Hotpot – A plethora combination of addictive deathly ingredients…

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A duo of soups – Spicy and Calm…

What is a Mala hotpot you may ask.  It is a deathly delicious combination of bubbling stock, oil fried with Szechuan Peppercorns, dried chilies, garlic, Chinese bean paste, dried jujubes, and a mix of other herbs and spices.  Each restaurant blends their own special recipe or they just use a ready mix.  This is my favorite style of hotpot, usually you would get a half and half which you can numb and burn yourself on the spicy mala side and cool down with the normal stock.  I believe that in the olden days this was used to help mask not so appetizing smells from using the cheaper cuts of meat.

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Hand cut shank is tender and melting

This restaurant is a gem hidden in on of the off sois located in Silom called Boon restaurant.  We ordered just enough for two and it was a great way to cure a hangover…. Amazingly the fishballs had a soft chewy texture, not too fishy and went well with this spicy oil.

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Watercress, Taro and Fishballs

Taro is usually flash fried to help keep it’s shape in the bubbling broth.  Personally i like to mash the taro in my soup.  It gives it a creamy texture to the soup. A creamy spicy, hot and numbing mouthful of soup.

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Pig’s small intestines – Gross but delicious

It may look gross but it’s got a chewy, porky flavor that is either a favorite or you can’t stand the look of it at all.

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Lightly Battered Squid – Garlicky, Spicy – Very delicious!

Hard to understand why this battered squid works so well.  Its lightly crispy, spicy when chewed with the Chilies, extremely garlicky and just so soft and perfectly chewy.  No calamari can beat this dish.

This restaurant doesn’t rank high is nice atmosphere, clean bathrooms and smiling service.  It’s a no frills, inexpensive family styled restaurant – the menu has pictures!!!!!  Drop by for a good time.

Boon Pochana, 152/8-9, Silom Rd.,

Bangkok, 10500 Thailand

Fiery Spicy Szechuan Cuisine

My knowledge of Szechuan Cuisine or Sichuan Food is actually limited to Ma La Hot Pot, the bubbling stock with hot oil, szechuan peppercorns, garlic, five spice ingredients and extreme amount of dried chillies.  It is actually my favorite type of hot pot.  Going to a szechuan restaurant was interested or so i thought.  Would it actually be the same approach?  All food just topped with the spicy oil / spices?  I was in for a treat.

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Waste Nothing!

Organ meat is a very chinese thing, we eat everything.  Most likely it’s a waste not mentality.  If i’m not istaken this is the stomach from a cow.  It’s got a chewy crispyish texture more than any taste actually but the spicy garlicy oil made it a nice appetizer to whet your appetite before the fire starts.  I appreciated the green cirpsy and watery thin celery stalk to help add some coolness to my poor tongue.

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Decadent Pork Belly

This was not spicy at all, i think it was great over piping hot rice.  I’m not entirely sure how they made that sauce but it was more sesame in taste, i’m sure there’s ginger in there somewhere.  I understand it looks oily but it doesn’t feel too oily, it doesn’t coat your tongue like when you chew on a blob of butter or margarine.  It seems to melt away leaving this comforting taste.  Really good.  Too salty to eat alone although i preferred it with some rice.

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Nice hit of crispy greens

In Thailand food we usually stir fry cabage with fish sauce, over thre it’s oyster sauce i presume with a few dried chillies thrown in for good measure.  Done correctly cabbage shouldn’t soggy but  with a nice crisp texture and juicy freshness.  This helped balace out all the rich meats so far.

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Ma La Craziness!

My absolute favorite is the Ma La spices, this arrived smoking hot and you can actually feel the dried chillies sizzling in the hot oil.  It’s probably palm oil, with dried chillies, garlic, szechuan peppercorns and other crazy goodness. There is a thick vermicelli noodle which is sticky and chewy in texture and sliced beef.  It was a bomb of chillies, numbness and savory saltiness in every bite.  The beef was tender and the soup underneath was quite delicious.  However you do have to sort your way through the pool of oil.  People may cringe at the amount of oil, but i’m actually ok, it’s not like we eat this every single day.

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Chilli Power!

Now this is everyone’s favorite, the MAPO TOFU.  You see in japanese restaurants but you dont really find it in every chinese restaurant.  Chinese food is quite vast with different regions serving totally different food.  This was like bolder MA LA crazy version, it was so spicy, a hint of sweet with a bit of minced prok thrown in for good measure.  It was so delicious over piping hot rice.  You can’t really eat it on it’s own, it starts to burn after the third bite.

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Best Potato I have ever Tasted!!!!

This potato dish arrived and i though it was just short strands of spaghetti stir fried.  To my amazement it was round strands of potato, stir fried.  Its so hard to explain, it was mushy, but it was al dente but not under cooked.  It was salty, savory, not too oily.  It was very interesting.  It was the highlight of the night, it seemed so normal but the taste and texture was just so interesting and delicious.  I must find out how they cooked this dish.

Szechuan cuisine is really more than just the hot pot but i do believe it’s an acquired taste, it’s very different from my day to day chinese food but it’s a great lift to a cold gloomy day washed with some cold beer.  Definitely for people who love spice, and dont mind a bit of oiliness.  Only warning is for your stomach and it’s a scary addiction.