Working with Mala soup.
Do not put any vegetable or tofu products into the Mala side unless u have an asbestos tongue. These items will soak up all the chilli oil.
Tau pok in Mala equals 'Fire Sponge'.
If u do drink Mala but wanna avoid biting into peppercorns then stack the slotted ladle over the soup ladle, the slotted ladle will act as a sieve to remove all the extra ingredients leaving only the soup behind.
To get rid of excess chili oil, turn off the fire, let the Mala cool. The oil rises to the surface and forms a layer which is more easily scooped up. Repeat as necessary or until JPot chases you out because of their draconian and high handed 2 hour rule.
For vermicelli, cook it in the clear soup first and then add the Mala into your bowl. Cooking it in Mala means half your time will be spent untangling peppercorns from your vermicelli.
Bonus tip: Check around the table before u order tang-o (veg) because it adds a bitter aftertaste to the soup.