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The best chilli oil in Auckland

Our favourite chilli oils available in Auckland.

The best chilli oil in Auckland

Apr 8, 2022 Cheap Eats

One of the first things I do when at a restaurant that serves dumplings is inspect its chilli oil. I can’t eat dumplings without it. I like popping the (usually chipped white porcelain) lid off, stirring up the silky red oil and all its bits (flakes, at a minimum), emptying a tiny bit out on to a coaster. The thing that gets me the most heated is when the oil-to-bits ratio is out of whack (that is, all oil, no bits), so these days I’m partial to a chilli “crisp”, which is most distinguishable by all that crunchy garlic, shallots, peanuts and more. 

Here are some great options, all available in Auckland. While it makes a good dipping sauce, a jar is always useful to have on hand if you find yourself short on ingredients to make a dish tasty; use it through noodles or stir-fries for a shortcut to flavourtown (sorry). If you have a personal favourite at a restaurant you go to, try there first; usually places will sell it in little pottles.


Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chilli Oil

I will simply not be making the same mistake that celebrity chef David Chang did when he initially forewent acknowledging Lao Gan Ma in the making of the Momofuku Chilli Crunch, which Chang got a shit-tonne of flak for, because, you know, there’s a heritage to these things. Lao Gan Ma’s Spicy Chilli Crisp is ‘The Godmother’, an addictive, craveable version that has the fortune to not have to kowtow to outdated perceptions of MSG. By this I mean, it has MSG, and that’s partly why it’s so damn good.


Kasuma Kitchen

Kasuma Kitchen’s chilli oil is perhaps my favourite one on this list, especially as their range offers mild, hot, and extra hot versions. Most commercially available chilli oils are fairly tame, but even Kasuma’s hot one (let alone “extra hot”, which we have not tried) packs a punch. It’s incredibly aromatic, with a great crunch from shallots.


Good Chow Aromatic Chilli Oil

Good Chow is a New Zealand brand that manufactures in Napier, and makes Paua XO sauce and soy sauce as well, among other things. Their well-spiced chilli oil has plenty of sesame seeds, for extra aroma and earthy overtones.


Hugo Bistro’s Chilli Crisp

Perhaps not the first place you’d go for a chilli crisp, but it is, quite simply, yum. It’s extremely mild, with more ‘bits’ in it than all the others on this list — shallots, garlic, seaweed. Considering the type of restaurant Hugo’s is, it makes sense that this is a great addition to breakfast eggs.

This story was published in Metro 433.
Available here in print and pdf.


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