Sensational Mala

August 9, 2023
Spice Flavor




Spice has long been an essential part of any meal, but consumers have gotten more adventurous as they desire sensorial eating experiences. The often-noted conventional wisdom that we eat with our eyes is never truer than when we bite into something that looks different than it tastes. This experience produces a sense of curiosity and playfulness. 


As heat continues to push beyond the singularly spicy, exploring Chinese cuisine is a celebration of the complexity heat can elicitSensorial heat is especially an integral part of Sichuan cuisine for its use of Sichuan peppercorns which deliver a distinct hot, tingling sensation. 


MaLa, “Ma” meaning “numb” and “la” meaning “spicy” in Chinese, is a popular seasoning that delivers both a hot flavor profile and tingling sensation to the tongue. Created by simmering Sichuan peppercorns with chilies and spices in oil, it’s often blended with butter to make a hot pot baseThe butter base is so popular it can be found as a packed retail item in China. Chongqing style hotpot is known for its heavily flavored broth and tingling hot spiciness. Made with the butter base, the soup base has a very rich taste to perfectly complement the red-hot chili.




Try it and apply it!

  • Take some inspiration from buttery Chongqing style hotpot and create a mala compound butter for breads, instant noodle dishes or soups.

  • Mala seasoned snacks and apps like mala spiked nuts or sprinkled fries would be sure to please those with daring palates.

  • Sensation sips can come from a mala spiked seltzer, tea or liquor such as a grapefruit fizz.





Feeling inspired? To learn more about the future of flavor, contact your McCormick account representative or contact us today.

Order your free flavor sample here.

You deserve more. Let’s get started.

What does true partnership look like? You deserve a flavor partner ready to turn these trends into the tangible.

Let McCormick FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here for you — every step of the way.

Contact our sales service department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or chat us up at