Replacement for Lan Chi Chili Paste with Garlic? SF Bay Area

Welcome to the camp.

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Thanks, and welcome!

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Thanks for sharing this .

So I found this page bc I’m looking for a substitute bc I sadly ran out of my stash of the heavenly Lan Chi Chili Paste w Garlic. I’m devastated as I’ve been using this since the 90s. I did randomly recreate it without trying years ago w a jalapeño that turned red and started to dry up on my counter… and I added garlic and salt. Has anyone found a similar tasting jar? Thanks!!!

Lan Chi is still available in some places - the proliferation of online asian store access may make it easier to find where you are…

All of my go to Asian grocery stores on the north side or Chicago don’t seem to have it. But their shelves in general are low in general. Amazon is also out. I’m going to make an attempt in Chinatown hopefully on Saturday but my sister also mentioned she hasn’t seen it there. Wish me luck w my attempt.

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Try Instacart for a search across stores - you can search a specific ingredient by pickup, which sometimes yields surprising results.

Thanks for the suggestion. That was also a bust for chicago. There was a store about a month ago that had it on the other side of town. When I went 2 weeks after I saw it listed - I should have checked again - no luck. I will try other zip codes again just in case. I noticed Lan Chi’s website no longer shows up too. :frowning:

Sometimes if you see it, you can call the store and ask them to hold it for you - that way you know it’s actually there.

I’ve done that with some obscure items in nyc, in case the online inventory is wrong, though sometimes the online inventory is right and the staff is wrong - happened to me once, when I hunted and found the item at the store while the staff kept insisting it doesn’t exist.

The things we do for what we want :rofl:

@Annie_Mark I am also from Chicago and have been looking for this with no luck. Have you been able to find a store or a similar replacement?

Hi! Was Googling Lan Chi and found this site. Wanted to share some recently uncovered facts. A computer whiz friend of mine was able to search Bills of Lading and sadly cannot find evidence of any Lan Chi shipped into the mainland U.S. since 2018. Friends who used to readily buy it on the east coast can’t find it now, where in fact I have never been able to find it on the west coast. Am surprised to learn that, for awhile, Amazon carried it. ALL THAT SAID, a friend of mine who has been sourcing it in her hometown of Honolulu brought back six jars from a trip a few months ago. She sent me two last week and will replenish when she goes back. So there’s hope, even if she’s the only person on the planet who seems to have been able to buy any recently at all.

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Hi - sorry for the delay. I randomly found it at Shop & Save on Devon/Milwaukee but those 3 jars are the ONLY jars I’ve found this whole time. I’ve tried several jars of chili paste and the only one I found to have a similar flavor profile is the Lee Kum Kee “Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan)”. Others I’ve tried were totally no where the same. Good Luck!

Annie, you probably got the last three jars shipped to that store, passed over by other customers because it’s an atypical product. You were lucky. I’m happy now that I have two, but fear the friend who sent them to me may not find more when she gets back to Honolulu. As has been noted, Lan Chi shut down their own American website. Doesn’t bode well.

A friend of mine visiting Honolulu found some bottles at a store called Bo Wah Trading on Maunakea Street.

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Wow I haven’t checked this thread for a few years and it looks like it is still pretty active. Lots of Lan Chi fans, I see lol.

After my stock up from the online store I linked back in 2020, I finally came down to my last jar. Like many have confirmed, this chili paste cannot be found in North America anymore. None of my previous online resources carry it either. Sadly, looks like these Asian stores that carried the paste have shutdown down during the pandemic :frowning:

However, thanks to @baron45 lead, I was able to track the paste to this store in Hawaii that he mentioned. I can confirm that the store has them. A family friend in Hawaii was able to ship me a few jars back in August. Jars made it safely to Seattle, WA.

So yeah if you know someone over there, have them ship you some. If you are vacationing, make sure you pick up a few jars to bring back to the mainland. My theory is that the company ceased operations in North America but it is still open and only ship in Asia and the pacific islands.

I cannot paste links here for some reason but just google “Bo Wah Trading Honolulu Hawaii” and you will be able to find the store’s Yelp page with other commenters confirming they were able to find the chili paste there.

Good luck and stay safe out there!