No question, Chile crisp—a spicy oil with crunchy bits—is hot. While the iconic brand LaoGanMa has been huge in China since the late ’90s, pandemic boredom has brought the condiment a new level of international heat. It’s become the “it” sauce to lend life to noodles, meat, veggies, and even ice cream. Here are nine brands to try.
Based in downtown L.A., Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp stands out with a tongue-tingling variety of Sichuan pepper called gongjiao and a depth of flavor thanks to fermented black beans. $15 at flybyjing.com.
Denver-based Chile Crunch is made with Mexican chile de arbol and is one of the crispiest iterations around. $12.80 at chilecrunch.com.
Mexico City’s Don Chilio Chile Crisp is made with jalapeño, habanero, or serrano chiles fried in extra virgin olive oil, which lends it a unique peppery, grassy kick. $14.99 at donchilio.com.
Momofuku Chili Crunch took David Chang and company years to perfect and features three kinds of Mexican chilies. $12 at shop.momofuku.com.
Get a Whiff
Petu-Ya’s Nariz de Perro translates to “dog nose” because Tijuana-based creator Fredy Rodarte says the sauce “will make your nose sweat.” $14 at sesame.la.
Each two-ounce jar of Loud Grandma CBD Chili Crisp Oil contains 120 milligrams of full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD. $29 at pdhcbd.com.
Even TJ’s has a take on the trend. Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch is a cheap thrill with dried onions and bell peppers. $3.99 at Trader Joes, various locations at traderjoes.com.
Toasted fennel, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds make Umamei X Brain Dead Chili Oil—a collab between Top Chef winner/Daybird toque Mei Lin and clothing brand Brain Dead—a textural delight. $19 at umamei.com.
Acclaimed L.A. pastry chef Max Boonthanakit uses sunflower oil as a healthy base for his Boon Sauce, which has a cult following among those eagerly awaiting new batches. $18 at boonsauce.com.
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