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7 Unique Mala Snacks to Excite Your Tastebuds
Snacking is serious business in Asia. This holds especially true for savoury snacks, which according to GlobalData, is ...
Snacking is serious business in Asia. This holds especially true for savoury snacks, which according to GlobalData, is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.1% to be worth US$74 billion in 2023. Among the flavours taking centre stage in Asia Pacific, the mala spice in particular, has seen explosive success from across all areas in the food industry, from mala hotpots to ready-to-eat meals, and now, the ubiquitous snack section.
Local markets are seeing an influx of mala flavoured snacks like potato chips, peanuts, or instant cup noodles while big brands are following suit by launching their own mala flavoured products. Still, the appetite for the piquant Sichuan peppercorn doesn’t seem to be abating.
Here, we round up out 7 lesser known mala snacks to pique the interest and taste buds of fans who cannot get enough of the numbing mala spice.
1. Spicy Jerky
(Source: Trustana Wholesale)
Thanks to the #seitan trend that took the TikTok community by storm earlier this year, how to make “chicken” from flour - essentially gluten or mian jin (面筋) - has become a trending topic. Jump onto the seitan bandwagon with this chewy mala snack made from wheat gluten that is flavoured with chilli peppers and Sichuan peppercorns for the ultimate tongue-tingling experience. Commonly known as la tiao (辣条) in China, think of this as a meat-free equivalent of barbecued meat (or bak kwa) that offers the same addictive chewiness, but with an added mala flavour and no preservatives.
2. Spicy sesame crisps
(Source: Trustana Wholesale)
Looking for something spicy and nutty but need something more interesting than mala peanuts? These spicy sesame crisps might just fit the bill. Featuring sweet and salty bite-sized pieces of chilli stuffed with peanuts and coated with sesame seeds, this is the perfect amalgamation of chilli and crunch that will please spice lovers.
3. Mala beef crispy rice chips
Recommended by Chinese internet celebrity Papi Jiang, these thin and crispy rice chips are made from corn, millet and wheat. Fragrant and flavourful, the chips are tossed with mala spices and beef seasoning for crunch and umami in every bite.
4. Spicy mala konjac jelly snack
According to Euromonitor International, consumers in Southeast Asia are moving towards better-for-you meat substitutes for increased health and environmental benefits. This konjac jelly snack checks that list by being meat-free, low-carb and full of fibre.
Serving up only 26 kilocalories per serving, the spicy mala konjac jelly snack replicates the chewy texture of tripe and is flavoured chilli, pepper and ginger for a fiery kick. Available at three different spice levels, this is a guilt-free snack for conscious consumers who are not willing to compromise on taste.
5. Instant mala crabstick
Surimi, also known as crabsticks, are popular accompaniments in hotpots. Taking inspiration from that, instant mala crabsticks are now available in a convenient and ready-to-eat format. Soft, spicy and flavourful, these are individually-packed and can be consumed on its own as a snack for an instant umami boost, or added to foods like instant noodles or hotpot for a more complete meal.
6. Spicy low-carb instant noodles
Move over, sweet potato noodles. These dry spicy noodles are a worthy contender in the instant food space with its low-carb noodles that are made from a proprietary blend of konjac and corn. Available at varying spice levels, these noodles are low-fat, sugar free, and have 50% less calories than the usual instant noodles.
Unlike pure konjac noodles which can be chewy, these have a similar bite to conventional noodles and come in spicy, savoury flavours like devil-spiced turkey and green pepper chicken. All in all, a healthier but equally tasty choice for those on low calorie diets.
7. Mala yam chips
Chinese yam (also known as nagaimo) has long been touted for its medicinal properties and is usually found in soups. However, this version presents it in a form that is seldom seen. Pieces of chinese yam are sliced thinly and fried till crisp, before being tossed in mala spices to deliver an addictive, delicate but flavourful crunch with every mouthful.
Can’t wait to get your hands on these snacks?
Most of them (and more) are available on platforms like TMall, Taobao, and Shopee. If you are a retailer looking to bring in mala flavoured snacks and other food items, visit Trustana Wholesale for a curated collection of high-potential best sellers to boost your sales.