I will be the first to admit that I never liked eating Mala (麻辣) food. But sometimes you just have to go along with the majority’s choice. Hotpot Kitchen in 1 Utama received a lot of online attention recently and they are also well reviewed, so I joined my ‘makan gang’ to check it out.
Surprisingly, I liked it. Main reason being, Hotpot Kitchen’s Mala style has been adapted to appeal to people like me who find the broth too oily and spicy.
Basically, what they have done is make their dishes more like a stir-fry instead of the usual soupy version. There’s no menu either, so you are going to customize the ingredients going on your plate – all chargeable by weight. Pricing is straightforward and simple, vegetables are priced at RM3.99/100g, meat/seafood are RM5.99/100g.
The ingredients are laid out in two separate display chillers. To start, just pick out one of the stainless steel containers and fill it up with feel like eating.
I was told that the ingredients rotate on a daily basis so you won’t be seeing the same things repeatedly. From some of the photos I saw online, some people had flower crab, but we didn’t see it.
After you have picked up the ingredients, you will weigh them at the counter, decide on the flavor (four available) and pay. If you feel like it, you can opt to split the ingredients to be prepared in different flavors, there’s no extra charge for this.
It’s pretty much all self service here. You will get a buzzer for every dish ordered, it will sound when your food is ready for collection.
We tried the Spicy Fragrant (点点辣) and Spicy Dynamic (爽口辣) and the the level of heat is the main difference. Spicy Fragrant is level 1 while Spicy Dynamic is level 2.
Between the two, I like the Spicy Fragrant version more because the spiciness feels just right and you can still taste the ingredients’ natural flavor. The Spicy Dynamic is a bit too much for me but my friends (who love Mala food) loved it. So it’s really a matter of personal preference.
While you are here, do try the bean curd noodle. The texture is uniquely chewy with a bite, maybe ‘QQ’ is the best way to describe it.
For those who can’t take spicy food, especially kids, you’d be pleased to know that Hotpot Kitchen also offers a non-spicy flavor called “Unique Platter”. Overall, the taste is similar to a normal Chinese stir-fry but with a stronger savory flavor.
This is one of the best sellers here, Spicy Fried Clams which is only available in level 2 heat. Recommended if you can take the heat, it’s actually quite delicious.
Overall, as long as you are able to pick a flavor (or spiciness) that suits your taste buds, I think you’d find the food here fresh and enjoyable. Price wise, it’s affordable considering the meal cost around RM60 and the amount of food we took was sufficient to share among 4 adults.
G355 Ground Floor, 1 Utama New Wing
Business hours: 10am – 10pm