HOUReview

photo credit: Liz Silva

Mala Sichuan Bistro image
8.4

Mala Sichuan Bistro

SichuanChinese

Chinatown

$$$$Perfect For:Serious Take-Out OperationCasual Weeknight DinnerBig Groups

Included In

Kind of like highway billboards and humidity, Mala Sichuan Bistro is part of what makes Houston, well, Houston. The classic Sichuan food is mouth-numbing and habit-forming, which is probably why there are five locations across the city. The tingling effect of the mala peppercorn packed into every dish creeps further and further as you devour red-oil slick dumplings, noodles with ground pork, and dry fried vegetables. For the full effect, order water boiled fish swimming in peppercorn broth. You’ll want to try some dan dan noodles, red oil dumplings, mapo tofu, and more, so grab a big group, hit up Mala Sichuan in Chinatown, and keep the lazy susan spinning.

Food Rundown

Mala Sichuan Bistro image

photo credit: Liz Silva

Dan Dan Noodles

This rich, umami Sichuan street food classic is a stir-it-yourself situation with ground pork, steamed bok choy, and a thick blanket of chili paste.
Mala Sichuan Bistro image

photo credit: Liz Silva

Red Oil Dumplings

The name here is apt, as the crescent-shaped pork dumplings are practically drowning in a bath of sweet, red oil. They are so good you may want to order another round.
Mala Sichuan Bistro image

photo credit: Liz Silva

Dry Fried Chicken

Thickly breaded chicken gets dry fried with fistfuls of dry red chili, garlic, and Sichuan mung beans sauce. The bite-sized chicken has a crispy, salty-sweet texture, and the entire dish feels somehow airy and light.
Mala Sichuan Bistro image

photo credit: Liz Silva

Water Boiled Fish

Boiled basa, a type of southeast Asian catfish, basks in Sichuan bean curd broth over a bed of Napa cabbage and leeks. The powdered Sichuan peppercorn infuses everything with its tingly goodness.
Mala Sichuan Bistro image

photo credit: Liz Silva

Dry Fried Green Beans

Fresh slices of bamboo, green beans, and ground pork are dry fried together with yibin-preserved vegetables. The Sichuan mustard, or Yibin, lends a pickled and sharp tartness to the green beans that keeps you going back for more.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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