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Lao Wang Mala: Super Cheap Mala Xiang Guo Under S$5 Per Pax Hidden At Yishun Coffeeshop

Last Updated: May 2, 2019

Written by Sean Lee

The Sichuan mala xiang guo (literal translation: numbing spice fragrant wok) hype has been sweeping over Singapore, and winning the hearts and minds of Singaporeans for the last few years.

The usual thing holding me back from eating mala xiang guo more, apart from my stomach, is the eye-watering price tag. But what if you could get mala xiang guo for low prices?

Lao Wang Mala Yishun 293 1

Located in the underrated north of Singapore, Lao Wang Mala is tucked away at BGAIN 293 Eating House (also known as Silver Spoon Coffeeshop). Unfortunately, this neighbourhood coffee shop is located a bit further away from Yishun MRT, which was rather inconvenient. However, they say that good things don’t come easy so we pressed on.

We were first drawn to this store by a viral Facebook post that raved about how cheap the mala xiang guo here was. Apparently, you could get “lots of meat”, two servings of instant noodles, along with the customary vegetables and potatoes for just S$8. Assuming that it could serve two hungry eaters, it works out to a mind-boggling S$4 each. What a steal!

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We had to go down to test whether all this was true. There was a wide selection of vegetables and meats available. Lao Wang Mala even has prawn and squid if you want to have some seafood, which is a bonus as that’s not always available at every mala xiang guo stall.

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The standard pricing here for each ingredient is as follows:

  • S$1 per 100gm of vegetables
  • S$1.50 per 100gm of mushrooms
  • S$2 per 100gm of chicken or pork
  • S$3 per 100gm of beef, mutton or seafood
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Pro tip: lay off the seafood and beef if you want to save money.

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However, I noted that when the friendly auntie was weighing the ingredients, she would not weigh in some of them, and gave it to us for ‘free’. Don’t take advantage of this loophole though.

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We had quite a bit of chicken, luncheon meat, one serving of noodles, shiitake mushrooms and a few leafy greens. The amount we ordered was able to satisfy two hungry guys who skipped breakfast, if that’s an indicator of how much we got.

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It added up to S$11.30, which isn’t as cheap as the S$8 bowl that we read about. However, we did take more meats than usual so that could account for the slightly higher price.

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They don’t scrimp on the toasted nuts, sesame seeds or coriander here either, which was a really important factor for me. I enjoy the crunchy nuts that break the monotony when I’m chowing down on my bowl of mala xiang guo.

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The medium spice level of mala sauce here is slightly different from what is found at most places. For one, it’s not watery at all, which I really like. I could taste beef fat, vegetable oil, dried chilli and salt, with the mellow sweetness of the beef fat really accentuating the fragrance of the peppercorn oil used.

What set this mala sauce apart was the little hints of star anise, cinnamon and fermented tofu. All of this added not umami flavour to the dish, as well as adding some dimension to its flavour profile.

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In fact, Lao Wang Mala prides itself on using over 20 different herbs and spices in its sauce, but obviously, they wouldn’t disclose any other components to me when I asked.

I also noted that this stall, unlike most mala xiang guo stalls in Singapore, actually added in a few Sichuan peppercorns into the dish.

The astringent, overpowering numbness of the peppercorns is an acquired taste, so you can request for it to be removed if it’s not your thing. However, the sharp tang and heat of the peppercorns was a good addition to the dish.

Just because I was curious, I ordered an additional extra-spicy bowl to see how bad the spice could get. And boy, was it mind-numbing! I’d count myself as someone who can handle his spice, eating mala xiang guo every month or so — but the extra spicy level here is something else. You’ve been warned, so proceed with caution.

Lao Wang Mala serves up pretty decent mala xiang guo at extremely wallet-friendly prices. The one downside of this hawker stall is its inconvenient location. As much as I love cheap eats, I wouldn’t travel all the way in to enjoy mala xiang guo here.

That being said, if you’re ever in the area, this is something you’ll want to have at least once!

Expected Damage: S$5 – S$10 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Lao Wang Mala

293 Yishun Street 22, #01-207, BGAIN 293 Eating House (Silver Spoon Coffeeshop), Singapore 760293

Our Rating 4/5

Lao Wang Mala

293 Yishun Street 22, #01-207, BGAIN 293 Eating House (Silver Spoon Coffeeshop), Singapore 760293

Operating Hours: 6am -11pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 6am -11pm (Daily)

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