Ma La Tang

28 01 2010

Food blog alert!

This is Ma La Tang. I had been eating it for months before I knew it’s name. Basically, there are little shops that put ingredients you ask for (or point at, in my case) into a basket and put that basket in a vat of soup. The meat/taters/dofu/seaweed/noodles/etc. cook in the basket and then they sling you your soup. Very easy and so great for people who don’t always know what they’re ordering unless they can see it.

Here’s the options at the place across from my school. Meat on the left, many bean curd (or tofu to you) options in the middle and veggies and seaweed on the right. The 5 kinds of noodles and other starches are on the wall behind them. You have to trust me on that.

They put your basket in this vat of soup (probably chicken broth. I know, I know!) with the spicy soup on the left and the savory soup on the right. You pick which soup you want to boil your food in. You might see the round tags- those are the numbers. You take the matching one for your basket so they know who belongs to each soup.

This is the laoban (shop owner.) He’s very patient with me. You can see the tags a little better in this one. Red tags are spicy soup baskets, blue are not. I usually put rice noodles, fried tofu, potato, lotus root, some other weird flat tofu and a green veggie. Usually runs me 3.5 – 5 quai (50-65 cents) I try to make myself choose one new ingredient each time… I’m mostly successful with that.

love, Missy

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