Mom's Hot and Numbing Heat (老妈麻辣烫) in Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall

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[Photo credit: Lingbo Li]

At this unrepentantly spicy Golden Shopping Mall stop that's popular with locals, you'll find patrons noshing all kinds of fiery-looking things. I saw a woman eating something that looked delicious: a spicy vermicelli soup with greens, thinly sliced meats, and other mix ins. Deciding to risk sounding creepy, I asked what she was eating: it was their ma la tang (hot and numbing soup).

Immediately afterwards, a spoonful didn't go down quite right. She started hacking, then ran for the drink cooler. When she asked for the price on water, her voice sputtered out high-pitched and wheezy.

It was then that I knew I had to try it for myself. The ordering process is not well-organized, but I finally ambushed the waitress and decided on lamb ma la tang, medium spicy.

She gave me a hard look.

"You should do little spicy," she said in Chinese.

Now I really had to rise to the challenge. "No. Medium spicy," I insisted, in my somewhat awkward Chinese. "I've been to Sichuan."

My bowl came, looking deceptively simple, thin and slightly chewy lamb layered on top. I started digging in. Spicy, for sure, but not death-defying. The real surprise lay in the eating. As I forged ahead, I felt like I was eating out of a magician's trick hat: every spoonful unearthed yet another new ingredient. Potatoes. Sticky rice cake. Cabbage. Wood ear mushroom. Tofu, two kinds. Seaweed. It never seemed to end.

It's a formidable amount of food.

Ordering Sichuan Hotpot

While I didn't get to try their hot pot, it's a definitely a deal: all you can eat hot pot, sides included, for $16.99.

If you haven't experienced Sichuan hot pot before, there are a few rules to keep in mind. First, don't drink the broth. The crimson hue should tip you off: it's more of a spicy, oily rinse for the add-ins, not something to be glugged. It should come with a lighter broth in the other half of the pot, which is to be drunk last once it's been perfumed with the ingredients stewing in it.

This Sichuanese hot pot restaurant is a bit confusing because its main room doesn't have a clear sign (as far as I noticed, there's only one handwritten one inside). The main dining room, right before the restaurant with the neon sign, is on your left. Its walls are painted fiery orange and vertical planks of wood engraved with hot and numbing soups and noodle dishes. The kitchen area, as well as plenty more seating, is the long room another door down, disconnected from the main dining room.

Address and directions

Stall 15 (in the basement, near the back corner with orange walls. No real discernible sign.) 41-28 Main Street Flushing, NY

Translated Menu

Print out this menu and bring it to order so you can point to what you want. If you don't have Chinese characters installed on your computer, download our image version of this translated menu.

When ordering hot and numbing soups, you'll have to specify whether you want mild (小, xiao), medium (中, zhong), or very spicy (大, da).

Hot pot

火锅 Unlimited hot pot and side dishes, per person ($16.99)

Other dishes($4-8)

沈阳大冷面 Shenyang cold noodles 担担面 Dan dan noodles 红油云吞 Wontons in red oil 清汤云吞 Wontons in clear broth 羊肉面 Lamb noodles 羊肉麻辣烫 Lamb hot and numbing soup 鲜虾麻辣烫 Shrimp hot and numbing soup 牛肉麻辣烫 Beef hot and numbing soup 鱼片麻辣烫 Fish slices hot and numbing soup 鱼丸麻辣烫 Fish balls hot and numbing soup 午餐肉麻辣烫 Lunch meat hot and numbing soup 金针菇麻辣烫 Enoki mushroom hot and numbing soup 牛百叶麻辣烫 Tripe hot and numbing soup 素麻辣烫 Vegetable hot and numbing soup 虾麻辣烫 Shrimp hot and numbing soup 凉拌黄瓜Cold prepared cucumbers 凉拌木耳 Cold prepared cloud ear mushroom 凉拌腐竹 Cold prepared tofu skin 炸菜肉末面 Sichuanese preserved vegetable with minced meat and noodles 红烧牛肉面 Red-braised beef noodles

Back to the food map

Explore other Golden Shopping Mall basement spots

Or head upstairs and explore the first floor