I stopped in yesterday afternoon for a snack, my second visit to Ma Gong. They have new glossy menus with English descriptions and lots of pictures. On the first trip, I didn't mind the adventure of ordering mystery items, and attempting to converse with the staff, but the new menus definitely make it easier. With only 2 data points, I also got the impression that they're hiring younger staff who speak English. They are clearly trying to become more accessible to all.
On the first trip we ordered the fish hot pot. That was the dish on just about every table in the place, clearly it's the house specialty. Unfortunately it was grass carp, probably my least favorite fish. Fortunately, the new menus revealed that the hot pot could be ordered with grass carp, tilapia, or catfish. I'm happy to see catfish as an option, since it is at least a fish with some flavor and texture, and I look forward to ordering that on my next visit. With the new menu, it is now apparent that you can order sides items to cook with your hotpot (see pics below). On the previous visit, we didn't know why everyone had these except for us.
Between the 2 of us we ordered some skewers, lamb, beef, lamb kidney, squid. The range here was $1 to $2.50 per skewer. I'm always hesitant to order kidney, as I've had my fair share of funky kidneys, but these were pretty awesome. No off flavors, prefect texture. The skewers were all around a winner. The wonton soup was flavored with sesame oil and cilantro. The dumplings were a perfect texture packed with lot of meat, I'm not sure if they were house-made, but they seemed to be. At around $4, I was surprised at the size of the bowl. We also ordered an eggplant off the skewer menu which was nicely grilled, and loaded with garlic, maybe a bit sweet and boring, but not a total loss. We ordered the cold tripe and sliced beef combination (first tripe listed on the menu, not labeled as a combination). It was very spicy and the quality rivaled Katy's cold dishes.
Overall I'm very excited about this place. Our total bill was $20 and we we were so full we couldn't finish most of the plates. It is a tremendous value, and I'd say definitely worthy of some LTH love.