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Why Is Chili Crisp So Popular Right Now?


Is chili crisp the new sriracha? Suddenly, everyone is obsessed with it across the restaurant scene and social media.

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Photo courtesy of MOMOFUKU

Lao Gan Ma, a brand of chili sauces, is credited with popularizing chili crisp. It was first bottled in China’s Guizhou province in 1997 and became a favorite condiment in recent years due to the influx of new Asian restaurants and recipes on social media that included it as an ingredient.

“Chili crisp is my best friend—whether I use it as an ingredient or a condiment topping. I especially love it in my noodle dishes and almost any egg breakfast,” says Chef Zach Berger, a private chef based in Woodstock.

A few brands to look for: Momofuku, Lao Gan Ma, Fly by Jing, S&B Umami Topping, Junzi, and Mama Teav’s. You can usually find them at Target, Costco, and many general stores across the HV.

Spicy food is on the rise. According to a global trends poll by Kalsec, an American food and spices manufacturer, more than half of all consumers are turning up the heat.

Chili crisp is very versatile. People add it to pizza, noodles, dumplings, grilled cheese, fried eggs, avocado toast, and even vanilla ice cream. Try stirring some into salad dressing or aioli for an extra kick.

The condiment is made by infusing Chinese peppers and chili flakes in neutral oil and then mixing it with fermented soybeans and fried garlic or onions. It’s spicy with the texture of crispy bacon bits.

Related: Your Delicious Guide to Dumplings in the Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!