Mala or mild, a steamboat to revel in

Eu Hooi-Khaw

An almost complete steamboat with lamb and beef, fuchuk rolls, dumplings, vegetables and mushrooms. The Sichuan mala soup is on the left and the other is chicken collagen broth. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

WHILE a hotpot is easy to replicate at home, there is nothing quite like enjoying it in the cool confines of a restaurant and choosing the broth and ingredients you want for the steamboat. 

Demala Hotpot & Sichuan Cuisine in 1 Utama E, the newest wing of the shopping mall, is worth considering for a halal hotpot feast, with a slant towards “mala”, which in Sichuan cuisine means numbing and spicy. 

We opted for a two-in-one soup pot, one with Sichuan mala soup and the other with chicken collagen broth. 

The first is for the mature, adventurous palate, always craving for something spicy; the other is for those who prefer a milder but still flavoursome experience. 

There’s also a choice of tomyum soup, mushroom soup and tomato soup. It’s best to have at least four to six people for the full enjoyment of a hotpot.

Seafood platter with Hokkaido scallops, snow crab stick, toman fish slices, tiger prawns and mussels. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

The fresh ingredients kept coming, filling up the space round the hotpot, from premium beef and lamb slices to a seafood platter of tiger prawns, Hokkaido scallops, toman fish slice, mussels, giant fish balls and snow crab sticks. 

Then, a variety of dumplings came – handmade prawn wonton, chicken dumplings, seafood taufoo, ring roll bean curd, mushrooms and green vegetables. 

Making an entrance were the Ebiko shrimp balls on a graduated rack, and the premium Ebiko prawn paste in the shape of a koi fish. The dips are just as important for the hotpot. 

Handmade Ebiko shrimp balls presented with flair. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

Premium Ebiko prawn paste presented as a fish! – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

We helped ourselves to the Thai chilli sauce, chilli and garlic sauce, Demala signature sauce and sesame sauce. To these, we could add garlic, cili padi, coriander or spring onions. 

Before the steamboat, we had a taste of the mala snack of spicy diced chicken (RM28) served on a bed of dried chillies. The chicken pieces, fried with bits of ginger and garlic, were nice and crispy. 

Spicy diced chicken on a bed of hot dried chillies. The chicken pieces, fried with bits of ginger and garlic, are nice and crispy. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

I chose the Demala sauce of chilli oil sambal, Thai green chilli and sesame sauce for the hotpot. 

The Demala sauce worked well with the beef and lamb, the Thai green chilli was good for the seafood and the sesame sauce was lovely and soothing after savouring the dumplings and meat dipped in the Sichuan mala soup. 

I preferred the chicken collagen broth, steeped from chicken feet and bones and finished with wolfberries and red dates, to the Sichuan mala soup. 

I could taste the fresh sweetness of the prawn wonton, Ebiko shrimp balls and the seafood. The mala soup worked best with the lamb and beef. 

The collagen broth also became more flavourful too, as more ingredients were added to it. 

Noodles and more vegetables were added to both sides of the hotpot towards the end. 

We could also help ourselves to more noodles, vegetables, mushrooms, fuchuk and eggs at the long counter near us. 

Demala Hotpot & Sichuan Cuisine in 1 Utama Shopping Centre serves halal hotpot feasts. – The Malaysian Insight pic, November 26, 2022.

The steamboat sets range from RM68 to RM88 for two pax, RM168 to RM188 for four pax. They come with a complimentary dessert of ice cream and fruit. 

Apart from hotpots, Demala also offers Sichuan rice sets and non-spicy rice sets. For instance, you could have a spicy fish soup with rice, vegetables and pickles for RM26.80, mapo tofu (RM19.80) and stir-fry lamb with lotus root Sichuan style (RM24.80), among others.

The non-spicy rice sets include sweet and sour chicken (RM20.80), stir-fry beef with ginger and onions (RM25.80), and salted egg chicken (RM21.80). There are similar dishes that could be ordered a la carte separately for a shared meal. 

Demala Hotpot & Sichuan Cuisine is at LG603, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03 7499 3705. – November 26, 2022.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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