Mala Sichuan Bistro
Beer & Wine
9348 Bellaire Blvd. [map]
L & D 7 days.

Fair warning: this small spot is popular, and the parking can be difficult, but it’s worth it. “Ma” means “numbing” and “la” means “spicy,” and you can bet every dish here is packing heat. For that reason, order some Chillin’ Cucumber Sticks, the cucumber tossed with cilantro in sesame oil—your tongue will thank you. A few of our fiery faves include the Crispy Chicken (battered bites sautéed with hot chiles) and the dandan noodles, toothsome, house-made, and topped with spiced ground pork, spinach, and green onions in a slow-burn sesame sauce. For a more accessible option, equally tasty but decidedly more docile, try the fine rendition of fork-tender Mongolian beef. (5/15)

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