Ma La is not just an arguably expensive bowl of spicy, stir-fried food, it has become an obsession — a way of life.
The Ma La craze has been in Singapore for quite a bit, and fortunately (or unfortunately for those nights in the toilets), it’s here to stay.
1. Ri Ri Hong, Chinatown
Kenneth: “Ri Ri Hong at Chinatown! Cheap and affordable!”
If you head down to the People’s Park Complex Food Centre at Chinatown, you will realise that there are actually two Ma La stalls, one is Ri Ri Hong and one is simply names Ma La Xiang Guo. Both are popular, the former arguably more so, but there is a constant debate on which one is actually the better one.
Individuals look out for many different components when they eat their Ma La. Some like it more herbal, some spicier and some less numbing. This one has a bit more of a herbal taste to it. Our community members recommended Ri Ri Hong for its affordable prices and quality Ma La. Vegetables are $1 per portion, seafood is $3, meat is $2, and seafood $3. You can expect to spend less than $10 per person here!
Address: Ri Ri Hong Ma La, 32 New Market Road, #01-1036 & #01-1152. People’s Park Complex Food Centre. Singapore 050032
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 09:00pm daily
2. Tian Tian Xiang Shang, Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre
Cheryl: “There’s one at pasir ris hawker centre level 2! Very cheap haha, $1 per veg portion and $2 per meat portion or Maggi mee.”
The Ma La here is on the “healthier” side based on what our community members say. It is generally less oily especially when you order your Ma La less spicy. This store charges by portion instead of weight, with vegetables at $1 per portion, chicken and pork at $2 per portion and beef, mutton and seafood at $3 per portion, one of the most affordable around with big portions.
Address: Tian Tian Xiang Shang, #02-21, 110 Pasir Ris Central, Singapore 519641
3. Fragrant Hotpot, 313@Somerset
Ming Feng: “313 Food Republic! Quite good. They fry the fish before tossing with mala.”
This place is a little more pricey with items going at @1.20 per 100g. Some items are also labelled as premium. Well, its Somerset after all! The best part about this place is that they fry your fish orders before stir-frying it with the Ma La spices which really adds the extra crisp and flavour!
Address: 313 Orchard Road, #05-01/02/03 313@Somerset, Food Republic Stall 20, Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: 8am to 11pm, daily
4. Joyful Palace, Food Pavilion Clementi 443
This is another places that charges by weight, however much cheaper than the usual! It offers a good variety, less on the oily side but go easy on the spiciness level if you think you can’t take it!
This is the place for affordable, spicier Ma La!
Address: 443 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-55, Singapore 120443
Opening Hours: 12am to 12am, daily
5. Fat Bird All-You-Can-Eat Ma La, Heartbeat@Bedok
For you hardcore Ma La fans, unafraid of visiting the toilet after heaps of Ma La swallow into your desensitised stomachs, this is it. It has a wide and interesting range of food other than Ma La like Fried Mantou, Herbal Chicken, Frogs (Tian Ji) and so on!
The buffet is $14.80++ for 1 hour 30 minutes from Mondays to Thursdays and $17.80++ from Fridays to Sundays (including public holidays).
For a pretty decent price, you and your Ma La fanatic friends can have big bowls all to yourselves!
Address: 11 Bedok North Street 1, #01-24, Heartbeat @ Bedok, Singapore 469662
Opening hours (for the buffet): 12pm to 4pm, 9pm to 11.15pm, daily.
6. Xiao Man Niu Ma La Xiang Guo, Star Vista / Suntec City
Josey: “Star Vista food court for consistency and taste!”
Consistent in delivering good Ma La that’s not too herbal-tasting as well, Xiao Man Niu Ma La is a Ma La Xiang Guo chain you can find in several parts of Singapore and 6 are halal!
- #02-25/26 The Star, 1 Vista Exchange Green, 138617
- Kopitiam, 3 Temasek Boulevard #03-367, Singapore, 038983
7. Ma La Xiang Guo, NUS Deck
You might think its peculiar to be adding some random school’s Ma La into this list, but NUS students rave about this Ma La, some even saying it’s better than the ones at Chinatown. The Ma La here is charged by weight but much cheaper than out-of-campus food courts. Plus, it is tasty and spicy with less of the numbness. If that’s your kind of thing, this is it.
Address: National University of Singapore, 21 Lower Kent Ridge Road The Deck, Singapore 119077
Opening Hours: 10am to 7.00pm (differs from time to time(
8. Ma La Xiang Guo, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre
This place, like the Ma La buffet mentioned above, gives you the choice of ma tou buns instead of the normal rice! This place is cheap and good, more towards the spicy side but I think what you have to look out for will be the long queue!
Address: Ma La Xiang Guo, #01-48, 208B, New Upper Changi Road, Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre, Singapore 462208
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm, daily
9. You Ma You La, Ang Mo Kio
Source: Burpple Guides
This place is similar to the one at NUS deck mentioned above, more towards the tasty (albeit, salty) and spicy side. Ingredients are charged by weight but fairly affordable.
Address: 51 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, S-11 Food House, Singapore 569922
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm daily.
10. Alexandra Village Hawker Centre
Josey: “Bukit Merah one for the affordable price!”
This one of on the spicier, number side so watch out! It charges by price but is rather affordable. Bonus, the owners are friendly!
Address: Alexandra Village Hawker Centre, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, 150123
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