Something you should know about Asians…we (okay, most of us) LOVE LOVE LOVE spicy food. Even the ones who don’t, occasionally deign to subject ourselves to the taste of chilli for certain dishes that cannot be without it – what would mala hotpot, chicken rice, or tom yum goong be without a buttload of chilli?
Of course, when the perennial nation-wide favourite snack maker decides to make a 麻辣 (má là) version of its classic Curry’O curry puffs, we are going to comply and a little bit more. Aside from the mala puffs, we will also be trying a nice big slab of mala chicken and its oyster mushroom counterparts!
Mala Chicken‘O ($2)
For just two dollars, get a quick fix for your mala craving with this fiery red bad boy. The colour of the dough seems daunting but rest assured, the taste still remains the same as the pastry you remember from Old Chang Kee’s classic curry puffs.
The vividly red crust houses a mix of varying textures that whet your curiosity – we were pleasantly surprised by balance of heat, flavour and texture of the liao (ingredients) inside. We could taste a mix of meat, crunchy bamboo shoots and peanuts, spring onions, and sesame seeds marinating in a spicy but not overwhelming mala sauce.
If we had one complaint, it would be the lack of an “egg moment” – ya know, that tiny silver of egg that throws your mouth a tasty curveball? I’ve never adored a curry puff without dat sliver of egg since Old Chang Kee became the standard snack.
RATING: BRUTALLY APPROVED.
Mala Chicken ($3)
A chicken patty of this size for $3 is a righteous steal. We wouldn’t exactly call it juicy, it’s a nice and lean patty that manages to not feel dry. Bonus “health” points!
The drawback, though, is how the chicken pieces are sold. Several pieces are tempura fried in advance and put on display for some time, and then mala seasoning powder is added right before a buyer purchases it.
Not super fresh like we are used to from the regular chicken Taiwanese chains, but at the price point, can we really complain? That said, we think it would be much more delicious if they had powdered it and the mala has “set in” before the chicken batter has started to dry and stale.
Side note: the chicken is also very generously powdered in the front and totally naked in the back.
RATING: BRUTALLY DISAPPROVED.
Mala Mushroom ($3.90)
Sad to say, the Mala mushrooms failed to impress us despite the winning combination of oyster mushrooms and tempura batter – a match that has been tried and tested over time in Japanese cuisine.
We attribute this to how the tempura battered mushrooms are also pre-fried and then displayed for a period of time before getting powdered with mala seasoning, just like its chicken patty counterparts. The mushrooms are also piled high in a circular box. Looks visually appealing, but this prevents you from being able to mix the ingredients and the mala powder together. We did try to manoeuvre around this and got mala powder up our noses and trust us, it is not a good experience! The batter was also rather too starchy and oily after being put on display for a while.
It might have served us better if the mushrooms were sold in a classic Old Chang Kee paper bag that allowed buyers to shake the mala seasoning unto the fried goods more evenly, like how McDonalds serves seaweed shaker fries.
Rating: BRUTALLY DISAPPROVED.
Do you know new snacks we should be trying?
Do you agree with this review?
Do you know any other products that need a good piece of feedback?
Let us know in the comments below and we might just feature it in our next article!
Can’t get enough of snacks? We wrote another article about McDonald’s Donut Sticks here!
If you’re looking for more substantial food, we also featured some authentic and yummy Thai food here.