Brian Goldberg and Benjamin Duvall met in Beijing while studying abroad, and both developed a love for jianbing—a type of savory crepe—sold by vendors off the back of bicycle carts. So upon returning to America after 10 more years spent living and traveling throughout China, they definitely missed their favorite treat. That’s what propelled them to become street hawkers themselves, establishing Mr. Bing as a popular food stand at NYC markets.
The only downside of jianbing is that it’s not exactly shelf-stable! So when the duo decided to move into the product space, their attention turned to the brick-red condiment traditionally tucked inside the crepes. Known as chili crisp, the presiding brand—both in America and abroad—is the famous LaoGanMa, emblazoned with a wise grandmother on the bottle. And while Brian and Ben loved it as much as anyone, they wanted to create a USA-made version, that was vegan, all-natural, and free of gluten and MSG.
Often referred to as the “gold standard of chili crisp” (with all due respect to grandma), their condiment is slightly sweet and not too spicy, featuring exclusively NYC-sourced ingredients, and made with a higher ratio of crunchy bits of garlic and onions than other crisps on the market. It also includes three types of chilies and two types of mushroom powder, for an intense complexity of flavors, all blended together with non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil.
During the pandemic, they were actually asked to provide 80,000 servings of chili crisp as part of a first responder pantry box project. And goodness knows, the blend is something every home cook will find themselves turning to again and again and again, since it amps up practically everything, from scrambled eggs to ice cream. Use it as a coating for fried chicken, a mix-in for cream cheese, a vinaigrette for salad, or a topping for garlic knots!
Since Asia has been such a formative part of Brian and Ben’s lives, they’re committed to supporting the community through every part of their business, from partnerships to hiring. They also donate a portion of online proceeds to Hearts of Dinner—a nonprofit that prepares and donates meals to elderly Asians in NYC.
In other words, Brian and Ben are doing bing things with chili crisp.