Ma Lu Bian Bian Hot Pot: Sharing Chinese Food Traditions in LA

Topics: Small Business

Ma Lu Bian Bian Hot Pot

Arthur Tang immigrated to Los Angeles from China with his family when he was 12 years old. He went to college in the area, joined the United States Army and served for seven years. After his military career, he decided to become a small business owner, opening Ma Lu Bian Bian in the LA neighborhood of Rowland Heights bringing authentic Chinese food from his hometown to his second home of Los Angeles.

Ma Lu Bian Bian Hot Pot has three locations, two in Los Angeles and one in New York City. Tang is hoping to open the other five to eight locations in the next three years.

The restaurant’s décor is reminiscent of Tang’s hometown hot pot restaurant he frequented during the ’80s and ’90s. He describes the look of the restaurant, “It reminded me of when I was a kid; I ate the hot pot in my hometown and that feeling is very great. I’m trying to have this concept in the U.S. to make sure another Asian American or Chinese American can have the same feelings even if they have not been to China before.”

This video was filmed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Hot Pot?

Hot Pot or huǒ guō (火锅) is a communal eating experience made up of vegetables, thin-cut meats, noodles, dipping sauces and a simmering broth. The meal dates back to China over 1,000 years ago when, according to legends, Mongolian warriors invented the idea of hot pot as they were conquering China. They would make a broth in their helmets and put local meats and vegetables in it to cook after a long day in the saddle. The meal’s popularity spread throughout Asia, where today, countries such as Cambodia, Japan and Korea have created different variations of the dish.

Broth is the base for the hot pot meal. Meal goers can choose four different types of broths depending on their tastes and the origin of the restaurant. The chicken or vegetable broth is the most basic broth with a lighter flavor that compliments the meats and vegetables. Diners who enjoy spicy flavors might choose the Szechuan version of the broth, called Ma-la, which has peppercorns, chilies, ginger, and other spices or other zesty types of broth such as Chongqing or Sichuan. Once the broth is simmering, diners place the ingredients they’ve chosen in to cook. After the ingredients have cooked, you can dip them in sauces of your own creation and share them with others at your table.

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Successful small businesses understand the importance of customer service and building solid relationships within their communities. Insurance agents understand the importance of protecting their client’s businesses as well as having a strong partnership with their carriers. AmTrust Financial understands that agents succeed when they have the flexibility to meet the specific needs and expectations of their small business insureds.

Arthur Tang explains, “As a small business owner, the first thing you need to consider is how to protect your investment. I think it’s very smart to get insurance first, so you, your business and your employees all get covered.”

Ma Lu Bian Bian Hot Pot partnered with KCAL Insurance Agency for their small business insurance needs. KCAL, started in 1992 by Kenny Chang, has become one of the largest minority-owned insurance agencies in Southern California.

Tang describes the importance of the relationship that he has with his insurance agent, KCAL and AmTrust, “When I was first trying to open my business, I would always go into KCAL to ask my insurance agent which insurance is the best fit for me. They always give me the right answers and the most affordable insurance coverage I can get.”

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This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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