Whether you eat chilli crisp mixed into stir-fry, on ice-cream, drizzled over pizza, with eggs, stirred into cocktails – well, just about everything – there’s no denying it’s one of the most versatile condiments out there.
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The brand was founded by Jing Gao, a trained chef and former restaurateur (as well as a former tech worker and Procter & Gamble brand manager), back in 2018. Gao tells Broadsheet her goal in starting the company was to “expand palates and minds and evolve culture through taste”.
The first Fly By Jing product – the Sichuan Chili Crisp – is still the brand’s signature, and Gao describes it as “spicy, tingly and crispy”. It’s made using an iteration of Gao’s family recipe. The founder, who grew up in Sichuan province capital Chengdu (among other places), says the chilli crisp is “unlike anything you’ve ever tasted because it’s one person’s recipe, story, and vision”. It’s made using a combination of er jing tiao chilli, tingly tribute peppers, cold-pressed Sichuan caiziyou oil, preserved black beans, garlic, sesame and more.
Today, the brand has multiple products, including hotpot bases, aged black vinegar and frozen dumplings, and Gao has successfully raised more than US$12 million in funding. (For now, only the Sichuan chilli crisp and hot sauce are available in Australia.)
It’s also developed the type of cult following not often seen in the supermarket space. Fly By Jing sells pop star-esque merch and has collaborated with Disney on the film Turning Red, as well as other hype-worthy food world darlings including Fishwife. Gao also recently released a cookbook titled Cooking – the Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp, all about the condiment in the US.