Are you ready to try the seriously spicy Chinese street food that's about to take Adelaide by storm? Malatang is an authentic and popular street food in Beijing. Simple, tasty and convenient, malatang is pretty much a hotpot for one, and you select your ingredients!
Gathering Point restaurant on Wright Street in the city is in an oft-overlooked spot given its relative proximity to Gouger Street and King William Street. I suspect it's been a bit of a secret haven for those looking for real Chinese street food in Adelaide.
The atmosphere inside is basic but bright and clean. It features huge pale wooden tables and chairs and the big and colourful serving ware gives the place a whimsical and light-hearted look.
Interior - showing the board used for communicating what is available for the rest of the day
Unlike the recent swathe of hot pot restaurants where you cook your food in a big simmering pot at the table, at Gathering Point you choose your preferred selection of ingredients and let the kitchen cook for you.
Your selection is weighed and charged at a very reasonable $2.60 per 100gms. Some things, like noodle cakes, are charged separately. You'll be given a bowl to fill with your selection of ingredients from around 30 different and interesting choices from the bar. All your usual hot pot suspects are on-board so you can make yourself a beef hotpot, seafood hotpot, vegetarian hotpot, whatever you like… mix them all together!
When you're finished, hand the bowl back over to them and they'll take it to the kitchen to cook your ingredients in a delicious and spicy hot broth. They'll return it to you in about five minutes, steaming hot and ready for the sauces. Dress your hotpot with spring onion and herbs and choose your sauces. Use the little side plate provided to take a selection of sauces to your table and grab some serviettes. All your cutlery is on the table so head back and it's time to slurp away.
I kept my budget tight. Delicious and very filling for $11.80 with a drink. You can imagine the possibilities...
Tip: Even if you ask for it to be made only a little spicy, it will be very spicy. This is spicy Malatang after all!
Gathering Point does offer a smattering of other noodle and rice dishes but the main event here is true Malatang. You can buy soft drinks from the fridge, and pick up free glasses of water from next to the sauces. There's not much more to say about Gathering Point really, go there for the Malatang.
I'm sure we'll see more Malatang joints popping up around Adelaide. Maybe you already know of one. At this stage, they're local secrets and very authentic. The level of spice isn't everyone's idea of fun, but I think I could get used to it when the food is this good!
Gathering Point restaurant is at shop 3 38/40 Wright Street in the city. It's open from 11.30am until 10pm daily.