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Mala snacks
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

The best mala snacks in Singapore

If you believe that spice is life, then stock up on these mala-flavoured snacks for your personal stash

Fabian Loo
Delfina Utomo
Written by
Fabian Loo
Delfina Utomo

Mala is all the rage now. From the hotpot soup bases to the fragrant stir-fry dish you can find at most hawker centres these days, the numbing and spicy Chinese sauce that is key to Sichuan and Chongqing cuisine has won the collective hearts and numbed the tongues of Singaporeans everywhere.

Want a hit of spice without committing to a full dish? These mala-flavoured snacks taste close enough to the real deal. Prepare to sweat up a storm – it's always good to have a glass of water on hand too – don't say we didn't warn you!

RECOMMENDED: Unique local snacks to try in Singapore and the best pineapple tarts in Singapore

Mala Hot Pot Snack Mix ($12) 
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

1. Mala Hot Pot Snack Mix ($12) 

From King of Melon Seeds

Spice level 🌶🌶🌶

The King of Melon Seeds might be famous for its, well, melon seeds, but the Mala Snack Mix is equally binge-worthy. Broad beans, peanuts, peas, and noodle crisps are coated in a spicy, salty seasoning that has just the right balance of fragrance, heat, and numbing sensation. We even spy some dried flakes of chilli in the mix – so you know it packs a savoury punch. 

TRY Available at various pop-ups, and on its website

Mala Potato Chips ($7.30)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

2. Mala Potato Chips ($7.30)

From Ooh Lala 

Spice level 🌶🌶🌶🌶🌶

Feel the burn with this snack from Ooh Lala, which comes with an “extremely spicy” warning. As with any good mala dish, the numbing spices creep and builds up in every bite. While addictive, chowing down on these crisps can pack up to 19,000 Seville heat units worth of firepower – definitely not for the xiao la peeps. 

TRY Available at Cold Storage, Giant, and its website 

Sichuan Mala Beancurd Skin Crisps ($6.50)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

3. Sichuan Mala Beancurd Skin Crisps ($6.50)

From Fupi

Spice level 🌶🌶

This newcomer to the CNY snack game might only be a few weeks old, but it’s already making (heat)waves with its innovative beancurd skin crisp snack. Inspired by classic steamboat flavours (Sichuan and tomato hotpot) – each airy square of beancurd skin comes coated with a piquant seasoning with floral, spicy notes. Bonus: it comes in an ultra-adorable packaging, and made without any preservatives. 

TRY Available at TANGS Vivocity Central Court Atrium till January 23

Sichuan Mala Hot Pot Fragrant Mix ($7)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

4. Sichuan Mala Hot Pot Fragrant Mix ($7)

From The Golden Duck

Spice level 🌶🌶🌶🌶

Reliable salted egg snacks aside, The Golden Duck also makes a mean mala snack. We like that it comes mixed with three perennial steamboat fix-ins: beancurd skin, fish skin, and mushroom – generously tossed with fiery, numbing seasoning. Our only gripe? Our packet came mostly stuffed with fish skin, and only a few small pieces of mushrooms. 

TRY Available at all The Golden Duck outlets, including Ion Orchard and Chinatown Point, selected supermarkets, and at its website

Sichuan Mala Salted Egg Fish Skin Crisps ($8.80)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

5. Sichuan Mala Salted Egg Fish Skin Crisps ($8.80)

From Aunty Esther's 

Spice level 🌶🌶🌶 

Call us boring, but we like our salted egg separate from mala seasoning. Aunty Esther’s might be known for its salted egg snack, but the addition of numbing spice makes it all too complicated. We taste more salty-sweet from the salted egg rather than the floral, spicy mala flavour we were craving. 

TRY Available at Aunty Esther’s store at Takashimaya and PLQ Mall, and its website

Mala Salted Egg Fish Skin ($8.05)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

6. Mala Salted Egg Fish Skin ($8.05)

From Fragrance

Spice level 🌶🌶🌶 

Similarly, for Fragrance, the mala flavour in the snack gets overshadowed by the addition of salted egg. It’s hinted in the ingredient list, where there’s a higher proportion of salted egg yolk added than mala seasoning. But our main complaint lies in its packaging – the bag is more compact than most, resulting in small, broken up pieces, rather than hearty chunks of fish skin. It also comes mostly filled with air – the image you see is 90 percent of the contents poured out. 

TRY Available at all Fragrance outlets 

Mala Hot Pot Potato Chips ($1)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

7. Mala Hot Pot Potato Chips ($1)

From Meadows

Spice level 🌶

This one’s a little bit of a hidden find. At $1, there’s really not much we can complain about. The chips are light and crunchy, and the seasoning is decently spicy and fragrant. It doesn’t have the intense burst of flavour that you’d expect from Sichuan cuisine, but you think about the price tag and you forgive it and throw another chip into your mouth. 

TRY Available at most Cold Storage outlets

Yolky Chips Mala Potato Chips ($6.95)
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

8. Yolky Chips Mala Potato Chips ($6.95)

From Yolky Chips 

Spice level 🌶🌶

We appreciate the crinkle cut chips, which adds texture to each bite. But the mala flavour builds up weird: it starts off overwhelmingly floral, with just a tiny dose of spiciness that leaves more to be desired. It then finally settles into a half-hearted numbness on the tongue that feels more weird than natural. 

TRY Available at Cold Storage, Giant, and Naiise

Snack attack!

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