BHD doesn’t really like spicy food. What a wuss! Just kidding. No, not really. Well, ok he has bad reflux so spicy foods really exacerbates that sometimes. Alright, I’ll give him a free pass for health reasons. Maybe he’ll do something else one of these days that warrants him a one way ticket to Pansyland. In any case, he did oblige me by taking me out to the well regarded Szechuan restaurant in Houston, Mala. It’s even on the Eater’s Essential 38 Houston restaurants. This isn’t the kind of place you go solo or even in pairs. You need an army to tackle this place because the portions are family style. We came with 2 other friends, so we did our best with 4 people. It turns out our 2 friends don’t eat pork! I totally was anticipating this, but BHD was like “Naaahhhh.” So we had lots of left overs at the end.
Red Oil Wontons red chili oil, ground garlic, sweet and spicy soy paste, sesame, green onions
I’m not sure why this dish was so popular. The sauce and spice were tasty, but the actual wonton itself was mediocre. I think I could probably whip together a better wonton. They might even have better wontons in your local frozen aisle.
Dan Dan Noodle mala spicy sauce, sesame paste, boiled spinach, yibin preserved vegetables, spiced ground pork, green onions
This was pretty tasty with just the right amount of salt, sweet, spice, all balanced out by the chewy noodles swathed in delicious oil. This and 2 other dishes would be sufficient for just 2 people.
Garlic Bacon boiled bacon, cucumber, sweet and spicy garlic sauce, green onion
Everyone on Yelp talked about his dish. Bacon and cucumber? Sounds weird to me, but it oddly tasted pretty good. The secret was that sauce. It reminded me of a garlicky and less pungent hoisin sauce. You can’t eat too many of these or the sauce and wide ribbons of unrendered pork fat start to be too much.
Everywhere I go, I must eat this. This is my favorite way to eat eggplant. Slathered in garlicky, sweet, salty, oily goodness. I’m pretty sure there was pork in here, but our friends quite enjoyed this dish.
9 – Awesome!
7 – Good
4 – Not bad