I’ve an embarrassing confession: I’ve never ordered mala xiang guo in my whole damn life.

Yep, I’m an outlier – but before you stage a protest against me, I have in my defence snatched bites of mala xiang guo from friends…and enjoyed copious amounts of lotus root doused in the mouth-numbing sauce.

So this piece is in tribute to one of Singaporeans’ most well-loved, high-SES foods – and how to maximise your order, based off these hacks by Seedly’s resident mala xiang guo addict.

1. Avoid fatty meats

As you may know, fat shrinks rapidly under high heat – and that’s something vendors are well aware of. It’s a win on their end, given you’re charged by weight.

So stick to meats with lower fat content, or maybe switch it up with luncheon meat.

2. Ask for extras

Some stalls offer free peanuts and coriander (in excess!) if