Showing posts with label Paper Wrapped Fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paper Wrapped Fish. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2024

MAO MASTER 帽牌货冒菜 @ Bugis - Chinese “Mao Cai” Individualised Hotpot with Selection of More Than 50 Ingredients


Hailing from China with over 7,000 stores worldwide, MAO MASTER 川魂冒牌货冒菜 is known for its “Mao Cai”, individualised hotpots with customisable ingredients - which seems quite similar to what we know of Ma La Tang. Their new store in Singapore has just opened at Bugis Junction, taking over the space of Fu Xiao Xian, a few doors down from Zhang Liang Ma La Tang.


The store is thoughtfully decorated with Chengdu’s street culture in mind. Chinese calligraphy quotes are hung on the ceilings and walls, paired with straw huts and low bamboo furniture. Even though the seating area definitely enhanced the vibes, it could feel a little uncomfortable.


First, we headed straight to the Mao Cai ingredients display fridge to pick our preferred items. The ingredients were fresh, with a wide variety, and all items were priced at $3.28/100g or $2.98/100g if you sign up for their membership.


Meat lovers will be satisfied with the range they offer, including sliced chicken, pork, beef and several in-house marinated beef in flavours such as garlic and chilli. Once you’re ready, you bring your bowl to the cashier and choose from four broths: Tomato Soup, Classic Golden Soup, Classic Spicy Red Soup, and Dry Mala. We noticed the Dry Mala was especially popular among diners.

Passion Fruit Drink 3/5

We had two big glasses of Passion Fruit Drink ($5.80) to go with our meal, but found them too sweet for our liking. Would recommend perhaps asking for less syrup or trying their other available drinks.

Starters 4/5

For Starters, we tried four out of seven types available - Shrimp Balls ($8), Duck Web ($6), Tribute Dish ($8) and Quail Egg ($8).

Starters 4/5

Among these, we preferred the lightly braised Quail Egg ($8), as well as the crunchy and spicy Tribute Dish ($8), which is asparagus lettuce in a spicy sauce. If you’re a fan of asparagus lettuce, you’d be glad to know that it’s also available for their Mao Cai - a seemingly rare ingredient to find in other mala shops.

Mao Cai 4/5

Our Mao Cai ($3.28/100g) arrived quickly in a copper bowl. We decided on the Classic Golden Soup which is by default sour and mildly spicy. We learned from the staff that their signature is the Classic Spicy Red Soup made with a beef and pork broth base, while the Tomato Soup is a vegetarian option.


While our chosen broth was lighter than expected, we enjoyed its mild lingering heat, which made it appetising. Ingredients that we tried and liked included the squid tentacles, cuttlefish, handmade noodles, celtuce, asparagus lettuce, winter melon, Chinese yam and chicken.

Paper Wrapped Fish - Mala 4/5

Our meal concluded with the Paper Wrapped Fish - Mala ($38.80) which was freshly put together upon order and cooked on our table over an electric hot plate. The raw fish is seasoned and wrapped in paper, with a timer set to determine when it’s ready. Once the timer rings, the staff comes by to unwrap the steaming hot fish.


While the mala broth was aromatic and packed a spicy, garlicky punch, we found the fish itself to lean a bit muddy tasting which not everyone may be a fan of. Otherwise, the portion will comfortably feed two to three diners with white rice to pair.

Photos and words by Jo. A girl who loves her Mala (麻辣) at Da La (大辣), discovering hidden food gems and a good cup of matcha latte. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Bugis Junction
200 Victoria Street
Singapore 188021
Tel: +65 8668 6920
Nearest MRT: Bugis MRT (EW, DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 1030am to 10pm

1) Alight at Bugist MRT station. Take Exit C. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]