June 2024: Shanxi Vinegar, Furu, Tingly Peanuts and Hotpots Back in Stock!

June 24, 2024

June 2024: Shanxi Vinegar, Furu, Tingly Peanuts and Hotpots Back in Stock!

Back on Shelves

Greetings, Friends of The Mala Market 

A quickie email to let you know that another 40 foot container rolled in with replenishments of some crowd favorites. 

Have you been missing Shanxi vinegar, the Famous Chinese Vinegars Collection, fragrant-hot fermented tofu, tingly Sichuan pepper peanuts or our beloved stainless steel yin-yang hotpot? Well, miss them no more! We appreciate your patience while they made their trip half-way around the world. 

🌶 Taylor & Fongchong 🌶

P.S. You've still got a few more days to get Caiziyou, the June Product of the Month, at an almost 40% savings. 
Ninghuafu Handcrafted Shanxi Mature Vinegar, Aged 9 Years
Ninghuafu Handcrafted Shanxi Mature Vinegar, Aged 9 Years


Shanxi mature vinegar is one of the Four Famous Vinegars of China and is the northernmost of the four, making it a favorite for noodles, dumplings and bao in the wheat-dominate north.

A Chinese "black vinegar," the lead grain of Shanxi mature vinegar is sorghum, with additions of wheat and rice and a da qu, or fermentation starter, of barley and peas. Like the other famous four, it undergoes completely natural fermentation, enabled by the unique wild yeasts, molds and microbes in its environment—nearly 1,000 kinds of microorganisms. (Talk about terroir!)

The Mala Market is the exclusive importer of the premium Ninghuafu brand, founded in 1377. All Shanxi vinegar is "mature," or aged, and our top-of-the-line handcrafted Ninghuafu is aged for a full 9 years.

China's Famous Vinegars Collection
China's Famous Vinegars Collection

Does summer make you think of cold noodles and salads dressed in chili oil and vinegar? Or perhaps a light dinner of dumplings with a cool vinegar dip? Those dishes are where a premium, smooth, long-aged vinegar really shines. 

This Famous Chinese Vinegars Collection includes our entire vinegar line with a 10% discount because off individual prices because we want you to try them all! 

Baoning Handcrafted Black Vinegar, Aged 10 Years

Ninghuafu Handcrafted Shanxi Mature Vinegar, Aged 9 Years

Hengshun Zhenjiang Handcrafted Vinegar, Aged 6 Years

shangxin liangfen aka heartbreak jelly noodles

Shangxin Liangfen, aka Heartbreak Jelly Noodles

Ah, Sichuan liangfen! They are an enigma, at once hot and spicy and light and cooling. And they are perfect for summer.

We always eat spicy liangfen, or cold starch noodles, and specifically Heartbreak Jelly Noodles, when in Chengdu, but the ones we had this time inspired me to revisit and update my 2018 recipe for the dish. Two reasons: I was aiming for a more supple, slippery texture to the mung bean starch noodles, and 2) I feel I've only really perfected my Sichuan cold-dish sauce in the past few years (practice makes perfect!). 

Starch noodles are way easier to make than wheat noodles—just cook starch with water for a minute, pour into a cake pan until it sets, and slice into noodles. Plus, they are vegan and have almost no calories! And they are the perfect vehicle for a chili oil/soy sauce/vinegar dressing. 

Wondering why this beloved snack/side dish is called "heartbreak noodles"? You'll have to read the recipe for the spicy controversy surrounding that!

Speaking of Sichuan cold dishes, I recently saw this video by Chef Jonathan Wu where he makes a dish very similar to the liangfen but replaces noodles with slivers of king oyster mushroom—topping it all off with a few turns of our Sichuan pepper grinder (so handy for summer salads!). Brilliant!

Jiajiang Fragrant-Hot Fermented Tofu (Fermented Bean Curd, Furu)
Jiajiang Fragrant-Hot Fermented Tofu (Fermented Bean Curd, Furu)
Despite—or perhaps due to—a slight tinge of aged funk on this savory, salty, spicy treat, you guys have been lapping it up! 

For those who've yet to discover Sichuan's famous fermented tofu, we'll let some customers describe it: 

"Where has this been all my life?! An umami bomb. Oh my it's delicious and adds such interesting depth to so many different dishes....just a little in stir-fried greens and it's subtle, and undefinable...I love it generously on toast for some spiciness"--Betsy

"Love love love! It’s a lot like cheese - the funk is strong with this one. I’ve used it on eggs and in a break burrito as well as stir fried greens, all the better for it!"--Benjamin

"Wow! Funky, spicy, cheesy (but it’s tofu!) this is amazing added (just a touch) to my pasta sauce! I look forward to adding it to rice, and maybe even on a bagel or on crackers."--Tara

"This is truly delicious. I put it in ramen soup. It changes everything"--Olivier

"Easily the best and tastiest furu I've had. Can't get enough of it!"--Sandy

50 Hertz Tingly Peanuts (Set of 2)
50 Hertz Tingly Peanuts (Set of 2)
So these tingly Sichuan pepper peanuts did not actually arrive in our container, but they did recently arrive, after a long absence, in 50 Hertz's container. That calls for celebration! Serve these uniquely flavorful and numbing—but not overpowering—peanuts with a cocktail, or as a snack unlike all the others. 

(Note that 50 Hertz has recently rebranded and the label looks slightly different, but the peanuts are the same.)
Yin-Yang Hotpot (Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel)
Yin-Yang Hotpot (Heavy Gauge Stainless Steel)
Recommended by NYT's Wirecutter: "A gorgeous split hot pot: This beautiful pot is pricey, but for any household that makes a communal meal often—or entertains with it—this piece is a worthwhile splurge."

After Wirecutter included this in its holiday gift recommendations, they flew off the shelves. We think America's getting the hang of this hotpot-at-home thing!   

Yes, you can use any pot for serving hotpot, but one that is split to allow two broths, has a wide opening for easy access for up to 6 people, is sturdy enough to last a lifetime, and just looks like a hotpot should—like the kind used in Sichuan hotpot restaurants—wins the day. 
Baoning vinegar sacrifice to the vinegar god

Blog Spotlight: How to Cook With Chinese Vinegars

Have questions about our products? Don't forget that we recently revamped our blog site to dive deep on ingredients: how they're made, how they're used, how they're stored, what makes a premium version premium, and dozens of recipes using each one. 

How to Cook With Chinese Black Vinegars is part of our Pantry How-To and answers questions like this one:


Should you choose Zhenjiang, Baoning or Shanxi vinegar?

If you ask us, all of them! It’s like deciding between red-wine vinegar or balsamic, both of which you may have in your cupboard and choose for different dishes and tastes. Baoning is bright and savory, while Zhenjiang is fuller and slightly sweet. And Shanxi is the most intense. Thus, you’ll find Baoning exceptionally suited for dips and dressings, Zhenjiang a workhorse for soups and stir-fries, and Shanxi a nice option for long braises and pressure cooking.