For fans of “mala”, you must make your way to Jewel Changi Airport as the largest new-age dry mala bowl chain from Shanghai, Red Lips has arrived in Singapore.
Red Lips 红唇串串香 is the latest trendy food (网红) from China, with long queues of customers in line to enjoy the award-winning “mala tang” 麻辣烫. (Essentially, a place to check-in 打卡 as well.)
The brand “Red Lips” is so named due to the tingling sensation that envelops your lips, as well as numbing effect on the tongue.
What is Dry Mala Tang?
While “mala tang” or spicy hotpot soup as we know it has been in the rage for a while, Red Lips serves up “new-age mala tang” (a dry version).
So this is not “mala xiang guo” or the soupy “mala tang” that we are more familiar with, but made up of ingredients first cooked in a special mala soup base, then a secret-recipe mala sauce is poured over.
This is where customers can choose their favourite ingredients from a choice of up to 45 items, including seafood, meat, vegetables, noodles and other speciality offerings. (Imagine Yong Tau Foo with customisable selection.)
The ingredients are then scalded in hot mala soup before being combined in a Special Spicy Sauce which gives the taste of ma (numb) and la (spicy).
While hotpot is typically eaten in a group, the food here is served in individual bowls. However, as the stimulating sensation is akin to having hotpot, this is sometimes referred to as “hotpot-in-a-bowl”.
Here’s how Red Lips works:
Step 1: Select ingredients from categories of Seafood, Meatballs, Meat, and Vegetables. There are up to 45 items, prices range from $0.90 to $3.00 per selection.
Step 2: Complete the bowl with choice of noodles ($1.00). Pick from Thin Bee Hoon, Thick Bee Hoon, or wide Sweet Potato Vermicelli. If not, go carb-free.
Step 3: The chef will drizzle over the Secret Spicy Sauce ($1.00), with optional add-on of Creamy Sesame Sauce ($0.50)
Step 4: Customers can feel free to further customise with complimentary toppings of spring onions, crunchy soybean and own blend of chilli flakes to up the fiery factor.
Recommended ingredients include Seabass Cubes, Prawns, Ling Fish, Pork Belly, Beef Tripe, and Lobster Ball with Roe and more.
For vegetables, you get loads of assorted choices (some you do not commonly see in markets) such as Bamboo Shoot Tips, Asparagus Lettuce, Emperor Sprouts, Oyster king Mushrooms, and Fried Ring Roll and more.
The following are just some of my suggestion, which would all come out to be about $8 to $10 per bowl. Of course, feel free to mix and match.
Bowl 1: DFD Fav ingredients
Spicy base + beef slices + luncheon meat + fried ring roll + enoki mushrooms + bee hoon
Bowl 2: Seafood Lovers
Spicy + sea bass cube + squid + prawn + lobster ball with roe + sweet potato vermicelli
Bowl 3: Carnivores
Creamy sauce + pork belly + beef tripe + fried pork skin + chicken cheese balls
Bowl 4: Go Veggie
Creamy sauce + bamboo shoot + asparagus lettuce + Oyster King mushroom + bamboo sprouts + Potato + thick bee hoon
The Red Lips bowls are best recommended for takeaway, and you would find that the size of the bowls which are specially custom-made just nice to hold in the hands.
The Taste of Red Lips
You would find that Red Lips’s mala-base rendition is perhaps more fragrant than the average mala tang brands.
This is because there is a secret blend of over 20 ingredients and spices; while its peppercorns are harvested in carefully-selected farming regions, then boiled to extract the fragrance.
The mala tang base has a bold, full-bodied and delicious flavour as well as a lingering aftertaste.
I would recommended add the Creamy Sesame Sauce, which provides that smooth texture, fragrance and earthy-nutty taste.
If you are wondering if it is very spicy, I find that the levels are very manageable, probably Level 1.5 or 2 out of 5 in terms of mala-spiciness. Add those chilli flakes if you can handle more.
Red Lips Singapore Opening Special
In celebration of the opening of its first outlet in Singapore, Red Lips has launched a special promotion. Buy 5 items and get 6th item of equal or lesser value for free.
Available on 12 & 13 October 2019 (Sat & Sun) only.
Red Lips 红唇串串香
78 Airport Boulevard Jewel Changi Airport #B2-263 Singapore 819666
Opening Hours: 7am – 12am (Sun – Thurs), 7am – 1am (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)
* This post is brought to you in partnership with Red Lips.