Eat Like a Local: Spicy Chinese Hot Pot at Malakungzhen

If there is one thing a lot of local women can agree with recently about dining in the city is that malatang is one of their favorite dishes.

Malatang is a popular Chinese street food that originated in Sichuan Province and is a type of hot pot that consists of various ingredients such as vegetables, meats, seafood, and tofu, that are cooked in a spicy and numbing broth made with Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers.

Customers typically pick and choose the ingredients they want from a selection of raw ingredients on display, and the vendor will then cook them in the broth for a few minutes until they are fully cooked. The cooked ingredients are then served in a bowl with some of the spicy broth and are enjoyed as a communal meal with friends and family, where everyone shares the cooked ingredients from the pot.

Malatang has become very popular in China and other countries with a large Chinese population and has been adapted to suit local tastes with the addition of different ingredients and spices. It is often considered a type of “spicy hot pot” and is enjoyed for its bold flavors and communal nature.

On a recent trip to Nampodong, we tried Malakungzhen, a popular Chinese-owned restaurant known for its quality ingredients and affordable prices.

Located about 170 meters from exit 7 of Jagalchi Station, the two-story restaurant oozes Chinese style with its red stairs and bamboo shoots and is very clean and tastefully decorated.

For fans of spicy soups, malatang is a popular favorite among younger Korean women and you can see many groups of women at these kinds of establishments.

After choosing our ingredients and from 10 kinds of sauces, you also choose between three types of meat — beef, pork, or lamb — and watch your creation be cooked in the restaurant’s signature thick broth.

A good tip is to add the meat first which will soak the juices into the broth and then add the vegetables which will increase the depth of the taste.

You can add refills or even choose other menu items including fried noodles, fried rice, and egg and tofu dishes among others all affordably priced for around 10,000 won.

A typical meal here for to will likely run about 30,000 to 40,000 for two and you will not leave hungry.

For a unique dinner that’s a bit of a break from the traditional food in Busan, malatang is a good option for those looking for something new.

Restaurant Information

Address: 19-2, BIFF Gwangjang-ro, Jung-gu, Busan

Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Telephone: 050-71434-8943

Sia Lee
Sia Lee
Having spent time in the US and England as a student, Sia Lee returned to Korea and is currently freelance writing for several publications about food and lifestyle.

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