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New SGV Spot Brings Spicy Sichuan Bone Broth To The States

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With the influx of Sichuan restaurants popping up all over Los Angeles, the Chinese food scene has been saturated with a plethora of ma la numbing spice dishes like toothpick lamb and water boiled fish. Restaurateur Vincent Lu, originally from Guangdong, however is breaking away from that pack and bringing a traditional Sichuanese specialty dish that is not readily seen outside of China.

"I travel back and forth from the L.A. and China all the time and mara tang is one of my favorite dishes that I haven't seen yet in the U.S. With Sichuan food being so popular right now, I really wanted to introduce the traditional ox bone broth to the masses and show that there's more to Sichuan food than the typical peppercorn drenched dishes," said Lu.

At Lu's newly opened H.O.T. Spicy Kitchen restaurant in Monterey Park, the star dishes are the original bone broth and the Chengdu spicy bone broth. Mara tang is a bone broth that is made by boiling ox bones simmered over a low flame for over five hours—it is the predecessor to the Chinese hot pot we've come to know and love. This regional specialty dish from Sichuan province is similar to Korean seollangtang, which is also a milky white soup made of long-simmered ox leg bones, but it allows for more customization.

At H.O.T. Spicy Kitchen, patrons grab an ordering slip and choose between the original bone broth (which is a light milky soup broth) and the spicy Chengdu mara tang, which is a thick, bright red spicy oily broth made with chilies, red oil, Chinese peppers, and Chinese spices with the numbing "ma la" flavor. Next, you can choose your level of spiciness desired between either mild, medium, or spicy. The mara tang soup bases are all free, but you need to choose at least five items off the checklist menu. Each item has a listed price. Ingredients to choose from include sliced beef, lamb, potato, noodles, enoki mushroom, and tofu, among others. There are also two dipping sauces that are supposed to enhance the taste of the soup: spicy chili pepper dipping sauce and sesame oil with mashed garlic sauce.

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In addition to the ox bone broths, H.O.T. Spicy Kitchen also serves a number of different dry pots, appetizers, and desserts. While it's safe to say the specialty is the mara tang, the Chinese style fried buns with condensed milk make for the perfect dessert.

H.O.T. Spicy Kitchen is located at 132 South Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (626) 300-9937.