photo credit: Eugene Lee
Tang Huo Kung Fu Spicy Hot Pot
Tang Huo specializes in malatang, a Sichuan street food of spicy hot pot and skewers that has become increasingly popular over the past decade, but is still pretty rare in LA. The setup at this casual spot in Koreatown is similar to many Mongolian barbecue restaurants, where you pick your own proteins, vegetables, and noodles to be weighed at the counter. Tang Huo will then prepare it as either hot pot or dry hot pot to the specified spice level. Besides malatang, Tang Huo also serves crawfish with the same spicy mala flavor, which is 100% worth all the shell cracking.
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Mala Dry Pot
Similar to Mongolian BBQ, at Tang Huo, you fill a bowl with the ingredients you want and pay by weight. Want a dry pot full of beef? Sure. A balanced bowl with roe-filled fish balls, vegetables, and noodles? You got it. The server then takes it back to the kitchen where it’s prepared with that numbing mala spice blend, which includes both peppercorns and red chili peppers. Keep in mind that even the mild has quite a kick to it, though it’s hard to stop eating no matter what level you order.
Get some chuan chuan (skewers) for the full malatang experience. The lamb skewers are tender and coated with cumin and red chili flakes, and while they are a bit on the smaller side, they’re a great accompaniment to the dry or hot pot.