Cheap Eats 2016: Mala Tang


Szechuan Hot Pot at Mala Tang. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Mala Tang


3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
goodforgroupsGood for Groups

You’ll eat to the tune of bubbling hot pots at this Virginia Square dining room. The waitstaff urges a cauldron per person, filled with simmering stock in which diners can cook an à la carte array of meats, seafood, and vegetables—we found that a single order for two to three people works perfectly well, and you’ll have more room to sample from the expansive Szechuan menu. The fare is both spicy and drink-friendly—large-format beers are offered for a reason. Opt for the “Mala (spicy)” broth, and round out the meal with garlicky dan-dan noodles, tender wontons in chili oil, and crisp-edged scallion pancakes.

Also good: Pork buns; mapo tofu; hot pot with wine-marinated beef, lobster balls, and mushrooms.

See what other restaurants made our 2016 Cheap Eats list. This article appears in our May 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.