Restaurant Review: Zhang Liang Hot Pot

Details: Located at 136-49 Ave, Flushing, NY 11354. I think one of these two is the official site (it’s in Chinese): http://www.zlmalatang.com/ or http://www.zlmlt.com

Score: 7/10

Zhang Liang Hot Pot or Zhang Lian Ma La Tang is a chain of what is basically fast casual, hot pot restaurants. The main broth (and possibly their only broth) is a spicy and numbing broth and food is priced by weight.

They recently opened a location in Flushing and it is all the rage among Chinese immigrants. I’m not talking about older Chinese immigrants. I’m talking about the younger, tech savvy immigrants who post pictures of their food on WeChat.

Additionally, don’t use WeChat if you can help it. As a chat program from Mainland China, obviously installing the thing gives the Chinese government access to your device. The app won’t even function unless you explicitly give the program permission to go through all the files on your device and to access the phone calling function. The only reason I have it is because all my mainland Chinese friends use it. Now I have to watch what I say about mainland China on my phone on the off chance I ever have to travel to mainland China. What a piece of trash app.

Anyways, this place is all the rage among young Chinese people and one such person decided to bring me here since they just opened a location nearby.

When you walk in, the first thing you do is pick up a big bowl and start picking up frozen/refrigerated items. They have all your standard hot pot items here including a vast variety of fish balls and noodles. In terms of meats, you only have beef and shrimp. The other forms of protein are, again, the fish balls and tofu based items. There are some veggies as well.

After you pick your items, you bring it over, weigh it and pay for it. It’s about $14 per pound. Since this place just opened, there was a discount of I think ten percent. You should also know that they only allow use of a credit card if you order over twenty dollars worth of food.

The food was actually pretty good. I don’t think they have any broth except for the signature spicy broth and I didn’t see anyone order anything but that broth. The broth was pretty good so I can see why people would choose that if other options were present. There’s a sauce section that has all your standard hot pot sauce options with the notable exception being that they didn’t have any sesame oil.

This place is self serve and you need to clean up after yourself after you’re done. I didn’t realize that at first and spent five minutes empty out bowls in the soup disposal canister.

Overall, this place was pretty good. For hot pot, this place is fast, clean and convenient. The price is also exactly what I feel like it should be. I can see myself coming back and bring friends here. Hot pot is usually a huge ordeal and this place is just fast and convenient enough to appeal to me.

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