Established in 2003, Harbin-based Yang Guo Fu 杨国福 lands in Singapore with two outlets at the Singpost Centre (Paya Lebar) and Bugis where our tasting was held. YGF serves mala tang.
The difference between mala tang and mala xiang guo is the cooking method: ingredients are poached in hot broth for mala tang whereas they are stir-fried for MLXG. That means that mala tang is healthier with less oil, but MLXG is more fragrant.
At YGF, you can choose your ingredients to be served in three ways: spicy mala beef broth, tomato broth, and mala ban (dry). Like MLXG, you can also customise the spicy level. We suggest that if you’re unsure, just start from 小辣. YGF provides condiments, so you can add on more chilli later if you want it spicier.
Many beef broths out there are weak sauce but here, the beefy flavour is intense and delicious. The tomato broth, suitable for vegetarians, is tangy and sweet—also delicious. Mala ban is their dry version with chilli sauce (made from various northern China’s chillies) and peanut sauce. The chilli and peanut are served by the side, so you can pour them in as much or as little as you want.
All the three ways of eating are great. We suggest on your first visit to try the beef broth and mala ban first. When you return, try the tomato.
Like MLXG, you choose your own ingredients. They have 60 ingredients ($2.88/100g regardless of meat or vegetable). The highlights include:
–tofu: If you have been to China and try their tofu, you’d know how much better their tofu is compared to our local tofu. At YGF, they use their China’s recipe to create their tofu, which gives an intense soy-beany flavour.
–Vegetables are sourced regionally—so they are fresh, unlike the withered leaves at some MLXG shops—except for the black and white fungus mushroom. YGF couldn’t find good black and white fungus around the region, so they are imported.
–noodles: they make their own noodles, which weren’t available at our tasting. However, there is a buckwheat noodle; it’s like the thick, starchy, gluey potato noodles, except it’s healthier, made from buckwheat.
We liked what we ate that night. The ingredients were fresh and clean. The flavours were layered, so you can taste spiciness, numbness, sweetness, savouriness individually. It was satisfying. Hopefully, they can maintain the standards and not just having this high quality for the tasting. Expect to spend about $10-$15 per person.
Yang Guo Fu Mala Tang
233 Victoria Street Singapore 188026
t: +65 6970 8318
10am – 10pm daily
Price / value: 6/10
Decor / ambience: 6/10
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This is an invited tasting. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.