Lao Gan Ma - Crispy Chilli in Oil

OK, so a jar of this stuff was delivered by Father Christmas, along with some other East Asian food products. I know the other stuff but have never come across this before. Anyone know it - and can advise what I might be doing with it?




The possibilities are near endless if you like it. So, first try a little taste to see if you like it.

The stuff is good enough to stir into hot noodles. I personally love LGM and have even made my own.


Ha, we had exactly the same thing happen—got a jar as a gift, never heard of it before. I asked the giver for serving suggestions and she said put it on noodles, etc. We made a stir-fry chicken dish with it, added a little of it to a bowl of poke, and also put it on blistered green beans. It was great in all three.


I put it on everything … on broccoli for dinner last night, on potatoes for breakfast this morning, on a demitasse spoon for a late night snack.

I have a problem, the problem is I need a bigger jar :yum:


Know it?

I can’t get enough of the stuff.


Some good ideas here ( the thread is about making it,

but the links include good stuff too. Like this one.

Also this thread .

With this link…


Just wondering if anyone’s tried it and can say how this Trader Joe’s product compares with what you’re discussing here.


It’s excellent @Midlife - was gifted my first jar last Christmas. It’s long gone, so ordered a big jar of the LGM, which is better, IMO. But I wouldn’t turn down TJ’s version anyday. Just easier for me to order the other w/Covid constraints.

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I agree with everyone, I use it for on cucumber, cooked vegetables, noodles, stirred fried with meat, Chinese dumplings… Sometimes when a dish is plain and dull, this adds a new dimension.

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To me the TJ’s stuff is a different beast altogether. Tasty but different.

To @Harters query, some background and recipes on this excellent recipe blog-turned-Sichuan products purveyor, The Mala Market. And more.

Also some recipes from another excellent recipe blog, The Woks of Life.


I wonder if my jars were too old. I bought 2 last year and it wasn’t the least bit spicy and had an unpleasant taste of meat. I tossed them both.

Great links!

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I like to make a marinade for ribs/chunks of chicken thighs (with bones and skin intact), tofu etc with LGM, minced garlic, ginger and tamari then steam.

And I especially like the combination of LGM and fermented black beans (never rinse the beans).

Pork rinds

Tofu and mushrooms

Razor clams

I also use LGM as a dipping sauce by adding some Chinese black vinegar and/or tamari for dumplings and other bits.

Home-made LGM

The sauce looks alarmingly red but it’s not that hot. In fact, just barely. It’s more the flavour, rather than the heat.


I have tried the Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch. The taste was strongly unpleasant to my palate. I wanted to like this condiment, so gave it multiple tries but couldn’t shake the odd processed food taste that I experienced. Threw the contents away.

Not sure if I got a bad jar of the TJ’s stuff or if the flavor profile is not for me. Normally I adore all things with chiles.

With other spicy choices out there, I won’t take a chance on this particular TJ’s product again.

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I love Lao Gan Ma Fried Chili in Oil as well.

I tried the TJ Chili Onion Crunch, hoping to like it as there is a TJ’s closer to me than a source for LGM. No such luck. I didn’t care for it either. Or I should say it was nothing like Fried Chili. I thought the Chili Onion Crunch had a weird Italian vibe that just doesn’t work as a replacement. Not inherently bad just not what I wanted. And not better than Calabrian Chilies so I probably won’t bother buying it again.


This is my exact take on the TJ’s chili crunch. I liked it more than my husband and because it’s olive oil-based, it felt slightly healthier than the “real” stuff (which we could both eat by the spoonful).

I’m talkin’ like spoonfuls of peanut butter or Nutella.


There are two basic reasons why the TJ’s Chili Onion Crunch is not even a distant facsimile of Lao Gan Ma.

  1. Lao Gan Ma has a nice healthy dose of MSG, the Chili Onion Crunch does not.
  2. Lao Gan Ma uses soybean oil, the Chili Onion Crunch uses olive oil

Neither is necessarily better than the other; each is just different.


That says it all. Thanks!

Doesn’t include TJ’s, but includes several others.

This looks interesting!

" oo’mämē Chinese Chile Crisp brings layers of spicy Szechuan flavors,
Or travel south of the border with this jar of Oaxacan adventure - oo’mämē Mexican Chile Crisp
oo’mämē Indian Chile Crisp Spices was conceived from our love for the fragrant spices of southern India.
oo’mämē Moroccan Chile Crisp celebrates the traditions of the ancient medina in Fez , the culinary capital of Morocco ."


I use LGM on everything (I haven’t seen canned tuna mentioned) but where I live it is no longer available. I can live without salt but not without my Chili Crisp! So far, that has been the biggest food disaster of Covid