If you’re craving the mind-numbing heat of hotpot institution Dainty Sichuan’s spicy broths but want something quicker (and smaller) than the full hotpot experience, Little Sichuan is a safe bet.
Malatang, also known as express hotpot or hotpot for one, lets you build your own bowl by choosing your ingredients yourself and paying for them by weight. At Little Sichuan that means selecting from a wall of refrigerated meats, produce and toppings such as thinly sliced beef, cheese-stuffed meatballs, half-shelled mussels, multiple types of tofu or a variety of noodles.
They all get cooked in a broth of your choice: mild chicken soup, pickled vegetables with a hint of spice, rich and creamy laksa, or a burning hot Sichuan base loaded with chilli oil. And there’s an option to get it dry – no broth, but stir-fried in flavoured oil.
If it’s more than hotpot you’re after, there’s a selection of entrees such as pan-fried pork buns, steamed pork belly, egg pancakes, and fried rice served in a pineapple.
At Box Hill Central, only a half-wall separates you from the rest of the shopping centre, but once that kick of spice hits your tongue the hustle and bustle outside fades into the background – it’s just you and your steaming bowl of spicy Sichuan soup.