photo credit: John Ringor
Zhangliang Malatang Chicago
Zhangliang Malatang is part of a Chinese chain that specializes in individual hot pot and dry pot, and it’s good for a quick and hearty meal in Chinatown. You start your build-your-own-bowl journey at refrigerated shelves full of proteins including cuts of beef, lamb, and fish balls, plus vegetables like bok choy, lotus root, and enoki. Armed with a plastic bowl, tongs, and your imagination, you can be as simple or as outlandish as you want (just know that the price is based on weight). After constructing your masterpiece, finish up by telling the staff at the counter whether you want everything in a broth (mushroom, pork, or tomato) or stir-fried in Sichuan spices. The end result might not be the top hot pot or dry pot in the neighborhood, but it’s still tasty enough for a comforting and convenient meal.