I Put Chili Crisp on Everything
I was in love with chili crisp after the first bite. This is now my favorite condiment for everything. I love it on bread, avocado toast, rice, chicken, shrimp, sandwiches, noodles, roasted vegetables, pizza and eggs. I'm thinking it will be awesome on popcorn. One brand even promotes their chili crisp as a topping for vanilla ice cream.
What is Chili Crisp and How is it Different From Chili Oil and Chili Sauce?
Chili crisp is originally a Chinese condiment but there are also Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese versions. In China, many restaurants make their own versions, with each recipe being unique to the restaurant. Essentially, chili crisp is a chili oil that is packed with crispy chunks of fried garlic, shallots, onions, peppers and other seasonings. Chili oil, chili sauce and chili crisp are all made from similar ingredients, the difference being that chili crisp is mainly crispy bits surrounded in a little oil, where as chili oil is mostly oil and chili sauce is somewhere in between. Below are some brands I have tried:
Different Brands & How to Taste
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I like to initially taste a new chili crisp by taking a small spoonful right out of the jar, rather than mixing it with other foods. The interesting thing is the flavor changes as it lingers in your mouth. Initially you might get a sweet, smokey, salty, umami bite, but over time those flavors disappear and the heat comes out. So grab a spoon, take a small bite, roll it around in your mouth noticing the different flavors and be ready for a mild to wild heat blast about 15 seconds later. Below are some of the brands I have tried:
S & B Crunchy Garlic
is hands down my husband's and my favorite. When we open a fresh jar at dinner time, we have to control ourselves so we don't eat the entire jar. This chili crisp is branded as "umami topping." As you know, umami
is the 6th taste and the word literally means "delicious." This chili crisp lives up to its umami branding. The first bite starts with a blend of sweet, smokey, mildly spicy, garlicky, salty goodness that almost tastes like bacon to me. There is a mildly hot kick at the end.
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S & B Umami Crunchy Garlic is mostly solid crunchy bits with less oil. It has quite a few ingredients, including MSG. Although the health problems with MSG have largely been debunked
, some people still have an aversion to it. That's OK. There are plenty of other brands without MSG, although if you miss out on S & B Crunchy Garlic you will be missing out on something very special. S & B Umami Crunch is manufactured in Japan. I buy six bottles at a time!
This chili crisp is hotter than S & B, and from my point of view not as flavorful, although it is my husband's second favorite. It is made with non-GMO oils and does not contain MSG. Fly By Jing chili crisp has a moderate amount of oil and needs to be well stirred. Fly By Jing is made in Chengdu, China.
Mr. Bing's Chili Crisp
is made in New York and does not contain MSG. It has a fair amount of oil, and plenty of crunchy solids. Initially, you get a lot of smokey and sweet flavor, then comes the heat. It is moderately hot. You can purchase this brand with different levels of heat. The ingredients do not change, just the proportion of ingredients.
Drama Queen has a pared-down ingredient list and is mostly crunchy bits with very little residual oil beyond what clings to the crispy chunks. It is packaged in a foil pouch instead of a jar and you can feel the crunchy bits through the foil. The initial taste is sweet and smokey, but watch out, this chili crisp is not for sissies. It is too hot for me, but I am not wild about really hot food. I like to keep the heat down enough so that I can taste the rest of the ingredients. I will be giving this chili crisp to my friend who loves really hot food.
This chili crisp brand is unique in that it is made with olive oil and has a short ingredient list. There is more oil than crispy bits and it packs a good amount of heat. This crispy oil is made in New York.
What is Your Favorite Brand of Chili Crisp?
Finding you favorite chili crisp is very personal. We recommend trying several. Please let us know which brand is your favorite. We are always game to try something new.