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Chili crisp is an Asian condiment that is becoming increasingly popular in America. The most commonly found brand, at least in America, appears to be Lao Gan Ma's "spicy chili crisp", there are dozens of other brands available, which may call their product other variations of 'chili', 'crunch', 'spicy', and {modifier} (e.g., "Sichuan chili crisp"; "Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch"; "S&B Crunchy Garlic with Chili Oil"); I can only speak on behalf of Lao Gan Ma's recipe, but this stuff is great.

Chili crisp is generally an oil-based condiment with crunchy bits, made by frying chili peppers, onion/garlic, and seasonings in oil. Some also include fermented soybeans (Lao Gan Ma does). The fried onion and garlic (and the soybeans) give it a satisfying crunch, and the spiced oil a delightful spiced-oil flavor.

Why this condiment is as excellent as it is I do not know; spicy/garlicy oil is nothing new, and crunchy spicy oil, while a great concept, shouldn't be a transformative development. But it is. If you cook anything Asian and like a bit of extra spice, this is worth a try. I also enjoy it with curry, and I have heard people recommend using it on sandwiches and omelettes; if you like those spicy, I guess it's worth a try.


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