Zhang Liang Mala Tang 张亮麻辣烫: Better than Gong Yuan Mala Tang ?

Zhang Liang Mala Tang 张亮麻辣烫: Better than Gong Yuan Mala Tang ?

Creamy, spicy and customisable. 

That's Zhang Liang Mala Tang's (张亮麻辣烫) bid at winning at this Mala Tang wave that hit Singapore 2 years back, as it was then they entered this red dot foodie nation.  

The Harbin chain store brand (another famous chain Mala Tang shop from China), has recently opened its doors in the neighbourhood of Tampines. Conveniently located within stone's throw of the Tampines MRT station (green line), and sitting next to the widely visited Playmade bubble tea store (just in front of the Tampines One Mall taxi stand), the first thing you will notice is its brightly lit signboard and orange shop decor.


I'm not going to lie, this is my very first Zhang Liang experience. The order method is the same with other Mala Tang shops: Pick up an empty bowl and tongs, pick out your mala tang ingredients (pick a drink if you require) and then get your bowl weighed and pay. 

Soup Bases and Sauces

They offer 5 soup bases, out of which by the time I visited (weekday evening, 6pm), 2 soup bases - namely Tomato Soup and Spicy Hot Pot - were not available for choosing. I was left with the options of Mala Tang, Tom Yum Soup, and Mushroom soup base. I'm unsure if the 2 unavailable soup bases were just not offered that day or they sold out. But either way, I had made up my mind to try their OG Mala soup - which is why I went there for, right? As long as that was still available, I'm a happy girl. 

While waiting for my mala tang to be cooked and readied for enjoyment, I explored their sauces station, which you can either enjoy the sauces alone or go with their suggested sauce mix recipes to add into your readied mala tang broth to enhance the flavours. 

Since they suggested 3 recipes, I had to try all 3 to figure out which one I liked best from their recommendations.  


Their charges go for $2.98 per 100gram of ingredients, and there is a minimum order of 300grams, which means the basic order charge is $8.94. Well, that's not going to be a challenge for us. I paid $35.70 for both of us - do the math and guess how much we ate. 

My go-to mala tang is usually Gong Yuan Mala Tang (宫源麻辣烫), and I remember being charged $15.70 for 494g of Gong Yuan Mala Tang (as at 1 June 2022), which approximately costs $3.18 for 100gram of ingredients. Seems like Zhang Liang still works out to be slightly cheaper, but how about the taste? 


As a rule and my form of respect to the chef's skills - I usually don't add anything when I taste food because I'm pretty sure that's how the chefs had intended their food to taste out of the kitchen. But since this sauce mixing thing was recommended by the eatery itself, I'm pretty sure the original broth taste would have been adjusted to suit - which I was right, I think. The soup was pretty mild (I ordered the mild spicy flavour 小辣 to test). Definitely milder than Gong Yuan, despite it still being creamy. It also tastes less oily than Gong Yuan's, to be fair. That point I did like. 

Remember earlier on I mentioned how wanted to try their sauces? Well, here's the sauce mixes. 

From left to right: Best Flavour, Garlic Flavour, Sichuan Flavour

As you can see, I did well not to waste the sauces, by putting just a teaspoon size of each suggested ingredient within the recipe. For this, my soup to sauce ratio was half a mini bowl of soup broth to the proportion of sauces I mixed. Then I mixed it well. 

If I had to rank the soup broths in terms of flavour, I do agree that the best flavoured sauce is the one with sesame sauce, chilli oil, garlic puree and green onion. Followed by the garlic and then sichuan flavour sauce mix.

I think the each of the sauce mix do provide a different experience to the soup. The soup tasted slightly creamier and more robust after mixing in the 'Best Flavour' sauce mix, while the garlic flavour had given it a slight edge over the mouthfeel. I did not think the sichuan flavour sauce mix was worth putting in, because it was overall too oily for me, what with the soup broth already become pretty sinful. 

The proportions you mix them around also matter. If you don't want to mix these sauces into your soup, I think they also perform well as a mini (light) dip for your ingredients. But careful, the garlic flavour sauce mix might prove a tad salty (depending on your mix proportions) and the sichuan flavour sauce mix might be a tad too oily. 

Overall, I did enjoy it, but I still think Gong Yuan would still be my first choice as I prefer my soup more creamy, robust and more spicy (to my liking, the 小辣 version) without me having to mix in any additional sauces. 

xoxo, JANEL


Store Details

Location: 10 Tampines Central 1, Tampines 1, #01-58 Singapore 529536 

Tel: +65-69700689

Operating Hours: 11am to 10pm (Daily)

For more, visit their Facebook page.

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