I wrote an essay for seminal Chinese food magazine The Cleaver Quarterly about my journey into manufacturing Sichuan Chili Crisp in China. It was therapeutic getting everything down on paper, but I can't pretend I'm not still scarred from the experience. Enter the seamy underworld of unsavory sauce bosses, rotweilers, body bags of shallots, and baijiu.
Here's an excerpt:
The burlap sack is big enough for a grown man’s body. It bulges with the weight of a hundred kilos of shallots, but there is a problem. These aren’t the shallots I had ordered, the round ones that easily peel back to reveal a purple-hued flesh. These are a different variety, with smaller elongated sections clustered tightly in a bulb, each piece ranging in size from half a pinky to a thumb. The color and even the taste are the same, but these shallots are threatening to ruin my life.
To read the rest of the essay, click here.