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Best Beijing Ma La Tang at San Li Tun

Beijing Ma La Tang

One of the bets and most underrated of Chinese foods is Ma La Tang, which is cheap, easy and a whole lot of meat. And while Beijing cannot hold a candle to Dandong (to come), I managed to find some of the best Beijing Ma La Tang at San Li Tun.

For the uninitiated San Li Tun is the party area of Beijing, or at least it was in pre-Covid days. Back then it offered some of the best bars, such as Heaven Supermarket and Great Leap Brewery, as well as top notch restaurants.

It was though at the peripherals that you would find all of the best food, usually either on the street, or in really simply holes in the wall restaurants, served up by the locals. This is where I found by Beijing Ma La Tang.

What the Ma La Tang?

Ma La Tang is like Chinese Kai Rou, or BBQ in that you go in and pick a bunch of meats and vegetables. You can through also pick other stuff like noodles, eggs and the like. Yet despite these being the traditional ingredients that you might BBQ, instead at a Beijing Ma Tang restaurant they boil it to make a “soup”.

You see in Chinese parlance Tang means soup. Therefore Ma La Tang restaurants offer the perfect change from regular Chinese BBQ, particularly if it is cold, or you just need some after drinks soul food.

The best Ma La Tang in Beijing?

OK, so if I am honest Jangliang Fandian is probably not the best Ma La Tang in Beijing because Beijing is quite literally fucking massive, but I think it stands a shout as being the best Ma La Tang in San Li Tun.

And I’ll lay my case here! It is located on the road from Heaven Supermarket and where all the best street restaurants are down from the Workers Stadium.

The selection of meats, meat balls and noodles was epic and the woman serving knew how to look after us. We told her we wanted spicy and spicy was what we got, although not too spicy.

And while this should not be something to brag about we got our beer Yanjing Beer served cold, something anyone who ha snot lived in China will not get. They also had my FantaEsque love that is Arctic Ocean Orange. And at the end 3 of us had eaten and drank while only just topping off at just over 10 bucks.

Perhaps though it was not even all that good and it was merely nostalgia that made me love this place so much…..