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Malatang with tofu (left) and boiled vegetables (right)

Malatang (Chinese: 麻辣塘; Hanyu pinyin: málàtàng) is a kind of pepper used in Sichuan cooking. When used by itself, malatang also refers to a very spicy soup made with this pepper. The soup is not eaten directly, but bits of food (usually tofu, pork or vegetables) are simmered in the soup to absorb the flavor. The actual soup is almost uneatably spicy, hence the name, which translates as "numbingly hot."

See also: Hot Pot