Chinese Hot Pot Restaurant Coming to Virginia Square

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm 8,381 35 Comments

A new eatery called Mala Tang is coming to 3434 Washington Boulevard in Virginia Square. The restaurant will specialize in an Asian cuisine known alternately as Sichuan hot pot or Chinese fondue.

According to the restaurant’s web site, Sichuan hot pot is a 1,000 year old cuisine that consists of “a colorful array of meats, seafood, vegetables, bean curd and noodles that each diner chooses from and dips in a communal pot of simmering liquid.” The pot can be served in mild or spicy varieties.

No word on when Mala Tang will open — it just applied for a liquor license today and nobody is answering the phone — but the restaurant already has a Twitter and a Facebook presence. They’re in the process of hiring restaurant staff, according to a recent Craigslist ad.

The restaurant space at 3434 Washington Boulevard formerly housed Mei’s Asian Bistro.

Photo via Facebook

  • anon

    Same people as Hong Kong Palace and Uncle Lius Hot Pot.

    • MC

      That would be seriously good news. They are two of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in Northern Virginia.

      I liked Mei’s and was sorry to see them disappear, but I’m excited to see authentic Chinese food replacing now coming to this location. Warning: this is not for the iHop crowd!

      • Jason S.

        Apple owns IHOP now?

      • borf

        I like fine authentic Chinese food. I also like IHOP. Bite me.

        • TIts Mcgee

          Internet comments are serious business

    • Jason S.

      I tried to like Uncle Liu’s but find it disgusting.

  • Bluemont John

    Wow, anyone know what happened to Mei’s? I thought they were pretty tasty. Just not enough customers?

    • FedUp

      Not enough customers. Their menu was way too extensive. As a result, everything tasted the same to me. No variety in spices.

      • JR

        I agree.

    • rahul

      i went to GMU arlington for grad school and the owner told us that the rent just got too high for the location, also it was always half empty

  • Ben

    This could be a win for the GMU econ faculty. I know they love ethnic foods….

  • John Fontain

    Even at grade-inflating yelp, the sister restaurant has gotten a lot of very negative reviews (poor service, way too costly for what you get, and bugs in the food)…


    • Arlingtonian

      Ew, I just read the roach review for Uncle Liu’s! My skin is crawling!

    • db

      Not all the reviews at yelp are inflated. In my experience most ethnic restaurants are seriously under rated on yelp, unless of course the place has a shiny expensive looking interior–in which case the yelpers cant get enough, mediocre food be damned.

    • Jobo

      I don’t trust anything that people write on yelp for several reasons: 1) So many people that write reviews are clueless about food. You shouldn’t trust their opinion any more than if your Aunt Tilly from Akron who can’t tolerate anything spicier than a dash of pepper wrote up your favorite ethnic restaurant. I have a good friend that doesn’t like cilantro or cayenne pepper, so as much as I like them, they are the last person I would ask where to eat. For all I know, they could be out there yelping away in their spare time. 2) Many yelpers base their very opinionated reviews on a single visit to a place. Mistakes happen and there’s always a chance that something just went wrong and odds are that you would not have the same experience. I would hate to not have gone to Rasika or Central b/c some DB went one night and didn’t like what they got, or was just looking for a reason to not like a place. 3) You don’t know if the good reviews are written by friends of the people that own or work at the place, and you don’t know if the bad ones are written by people who just have a beef with someone associated with the restaurant, or a competitor. You also don’t know if there are multiple good/bad reviews written by the same person that created multiple yelp accounts.

      • Arlingtonian

        Everything you say is true, but when at least three people post reviews about bugs or roaches in the place and two of those three reviewers has many reviews about other places with varying reviews, that’s enough to raise a red flag for me. I’ll try anything once, but not roaches. (And I’ve voluntarily eaten roasted beatles, crickets, and mealworms before 😉 I might still be willing to give it a try once the image of a dying baby roach on someone’s dinner plate goes out of my head, but then again, I looked up their health code record online just now and it doesn’t seem they like to fix critical issues, so just … no.

      • ArlG

        And 4) there are confusing/hidden rules about which reviews are actually posted. So you can post a review and it will show under the restaurant if you are logged on. But if you log off, or are viewing it as someone else, it will NOT show up. I think until you have gained some sort of “rating” (based on the number of reviews, etc), they will likely not show your negative review….

  • OX4

    “A communal pot of simmering liquid.” MMMMM!!!

  • N.Arlingtonian

    It’s an awkward location – I wish them luck.



    • borf

      There’s an Applebee’s in Loudon County with plenty of parking.

    • Bluemont John

      Mei’s had a deal with the auto repair place across the street to let you park there in the evenings.

    • Davidm

      Definitely a terrible location testing the boundary of VA Square…unless you take the 38B.
      Best of luck to them, but I’d be shocked if they last more than 15 months. A lunch buffet will keep them in business in that neighborhood, but not hotpot…and I love Chinese hotpot.

      • Bluemont John

        And yet somehow, Rockland’s survives, despite its pathetic attempt at BBQ.

        • John Fontain

          And I thought I was the only one who finds their BBQ unappealing. Their sides aren’t bad, but the meat itself – which should be the main attraction – is not very good.

          If you’ve got any local BBQ recommendations, I’m all ears.

          Monday night I dined at Dixie Bones in Woodbridge. It’s quite a drive, but the best BBQ place I know of in the area.

          • Bluemont John

            I wish I knew. The only even OK BBQ I know of in the immediate area is Red Hot & Blue. Not bad. Otherwise, I think you’re on the right track in going to the more far-flung suburbs or small towns. There was that soul food place near Shirlington that was written up here about two weeks ago; maybe that lady does BBQ?

          • VA Squarian

            You’re definitely not the only one. Of course, I keep going since it’s the closest place to my house.

        • V Dizzle

          To show the breadth of tastes, Rockland’s makes my favorite local chopped pork and brisket. I’ve never had a bad meal there, and friends from out of town have insisted we go back there when they’ve visited. Warning, the DC location (original i think?) will make you stink like the food you’re eating.

          • Lou

            I work right by the main DC store, and get lunch there at least 3 or 4 times a month. Never disappointed. And yes, you will smell like a good wood fire for the rest of the day in the office (like I do right now).

  • BrownClown

    I made a Chinese Hot Pot in my bathroom this morning.

    • Glebe Roader

      WOW! Best laugh I’ve had all week. Thanks.

  • steve

    Maybe when this place closes down Dr. Dremos can repopen in that space?

  • JR

    I have to say, hot pot may be authentic, but I personally cannot stand paying good money to boil my own dinner. That’s why I hate eating at The Melting Pot. The fondue is fine. The dinner experience is lousy, overpriced and takes forever.

    • John Fontain

      Likewise, I’ve never understood why you have to pay twice as much as another restaurant when you do the darned cooking yourself. If anything, it should be cheaper than other restaurants since you are doing the work yourself.

      • V Dizzle

        I figure it has to do with the 2 hours+ you spend at their tables, and the large amount of wait-staff time it requires.


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