- Address: 20 Gibson Dr., Markham
- Visited: 12/18/2016, Lunch, 2 people
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Rating: 4.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://spicymafia.com/
Did anyone else think that spring had arrived earlier this week when temperatures hit 15℃? I did, and was quickly dissuaded with today’s -15℃ (feels like) forecast. Very very sad. The only silver lining of this frigid weather is an excuse to eat more hotpot. Although, I’ve been known to hotpot in the heat of summer with the help of air conditioning. Spicy Mafia is a neat concept from the owners of the popular hotpot chain, Morals Village Hotpot. The compact restaurant in Markham specializes in individual hotpots allowing diners to enjoy the satisfaction of a hot pot meal that’s not AYCE, with a more affordable price tag to match.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
To avoid crowds, The Hubby and I stopped by Spicy Mafia just after lunch at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. Besides us, only a few other tables were taken. The restaurant’s decor was modern with bright colours and a painted wall mural of a street scene and Chinese characters. With a long narrow layout, plenty of natural light streamed into the restaurant making for great photos. To drink, I ordered a Fresh Watermelon Juice ($4.99) that tasted exactly like a sweet, ripe watermelon in liquid form.
The menu at Spicy Mafia reminded me of custom noodle places where you choose a soup, pick a few toppings, and can add more items at an additional cost. There were 5 soup bases offered at Spicy Mafia including their signature spicy soup, homemade pork bone soup and a sweet tomato pork bone soup. Included in the base price ($12.99-$13.99), was a noodle, an order of meat (lamb, pork or angus beef slices), two dipping sauces and a variety of hot pot ingredients like red sausage, shrimp, tofu puff, napa, enoki and luncheon meat. Additional ingredients ranged from $1.50-$2.50 per order. The selection of optional ingredients were wide and a good serving size for the price.
Without adding any toppings, the Mini Hot Pot combo is a pretty good price and would be satisfying for me. I would have a hard time only picking two dipping sauces though, especially when coriander, spicy oil, garlic, sesame sauce are all separate options at $0.50 each after the first two free ones. If there was an option of a pre mixed “house dipping” sauce, I would lean towards ordering that. There was a good mix of protein and vegetables in the default toppings and the noodle went a long way to make the combo filling. However, for carnivores who hot pot mainly for meat, the four rolls of sliced meat will not be enough and adding many more orders of meat would add up quickly on the bill, defeating the whole purpose of not going for AYCE. For me, I’d add an order of watercress and maybe fish balls.
I made the mistake of cooking my rice noodles at the beginning of the meal, which soaked up a lot of the soup base and added starch to my pot, making the remaining broth thick and difficult to cook anything else in. This was my first time using a shallow pot to hotpot, and I felt like the soup boiled off quickly. The key was to space out adding in the ingredients. Servers walked around topping off pots with clear broth, which I was in dire need of. This also meant that the first few things I hot-potted was really spicy. Delicious, but the spice tapered off quickly.
We also tried a Fried Pork chop snack, which was juicy inside and crunchy outside. With a drink, two additional toppings and a snack, lunch at Spicy Mafia would total to just over $30 per person. I think the hot pot combo alone is a good value, but this can change quickly with the enticing add-on options.