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Despite having a near iron-clad constitution, impervious to the ill effects of consuming spicy food, a popular chili crisp oil brand wreaks havoc on me. I wanted to love it but also found the flavor to be too specific; sesame oil and other ingredients give it a distinct flavor that limits its usefulness for a variety of dishes. So, fueled by my love of spicy condiments, my search went on to find the perfect, universal chili oil–until I found Momofuku’s.
The famed restaurant chain founded by celebrity restaurateur, TV and podcast host David Chang has been quietly making Chili Crunch oil and ramen noodles. Chang trained at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, then worked with various cuisines before launching his first noodle bar. Inspired by classic Chinese oils but also the zing of Mexican hot peppers, the brand says that the recipe took ten years to perfect. “With three types of Mexican chilis, crunchy garlic, and shallots, Chili Crunch is the perfect balance of spicy and crunchy.”
Momofuku Chili Crunch by David Chang
I tried the Chili Crunch oil with the expectation that it would suit ramen or my beloved tofu dishes, and only hoped it would spare my tummy distress. It quickly became my favorite spicy condiment, putting it on everything from avocado toast to grain and veggie bowls. The only thing I felt afterward was remorse over the fact that my meal was over since it was so enjoyable. I became enamored with the Chili Crunch oil when I used it in an Arrabbiata tomato sauce over polenta, as it proved to be that versatile (I still dream of how good that was!). Now, I try the oil with almost any savory recipe. It’s got a perfect amount of heat that stays in my mouth for five minutes after, without cringe or pain. The base oil is grapeseed, so the taste is mild enough not to dominate the flavor of the whole dish. The combination of chili peppers is a wonderful blend but not too distinct to form its own character other than the warm hug of spiciness.
I’ve only tried the original Chili Crunch oil but am excited to try the other flavors next: Black Truffle (!!), Extra Spicy (bring it on), and holy smokes–they just launched a Hot Honey flavor. The variety pack includes the first three flavors, and there are bundles that include both products–and make great gifts. The bundles and four-packs ship free; everything is vegan and made without MSG. If you’re curious about the ramen noodles, think about the first time you ate fresh pasta and what a revelation it was compared to the boxed stuff, and know that the same kind of epiphany is in store with the Momofuku noodle experience. Lastly, I noted that they have a limited-edition Valentine’s Day collaboration with my favorite unroasted chocolate brand Raaka, so if you are wondering what to gift your spice-loving sweetheart, look no further.
Chili Crunch Variety Pack
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