Meet Your New Favorite Condiment: Umami Crunch

An indispensable new condiment you'll want to put on most everything.
An indispensable new condiment you’ll want to put on most everything.

Chili crisp may be all the rage now as the “It’ condiment, but a worthy competitor has stepped up to challenge: Lazy Susan Umami Crunch.

This new Chinese condiment is from Lazy Susan, the takeout- and delivery-only Chinese restaurant that opened earlier this year in San Francisco by Salt Partners, the restaurant group behind the (Dominique) Crenn Dining Group, and Humphry Slocumbe.

While chili crisp is a mix of Sichuan peppercorns and chili flakes floating in a generous pool of oil that carries a kick of spiciness, Umami Crunch is not about heat at all but an explosion of savoriness. That’s what I found when I received a sample recently to try.

Umami Crunch is made with rice bran oil, but just barely enough to hold all the minced ingredients together. As a result, when you study a jar, you will immediately see the mix of diced pieces of garlic and fermented black beans visible that gets bloomed in the oil and seasoned with shiitake mushroom powder.

The result is a drier, less saucy condiment with far more texture. It’s all crunch and chew. And it’s a powerhouse of umami. It’s salty, plenty garlicky, and a little funky in that aged fermented way. A little goes a long way, too. But it’s so addictive that you might want to keep putting more and more on whatever you’re eating. Just note, though, that every now and then, you might encounter the woody end of a garlic clove that’s been hardened by the frying process, and may be a bit tough on the teeth.

Umami Crunch comes in a resealable jar that doesn't need to be refrigerated.
Umami Crunch comes in a resealable jar that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Spooned over plain udon noodles with sliced green onions, it adds a ton of flavor plus fun texture. Gluten-free and vegan, Umami Crunch would be an ideal finishing touch to any noodle dish, plain rice, stir-fries, scrambled eggs or grilled veggies. It also would be dynamite sprinkled over sliced fresh tomatoes with a little olive oil, inside a gooey mozzarella grilled cheese, or even adorning avocado toast.

It's an explosion of savoriness and textures.
It’s an explosion of savoriness and textures.

A jar is $7.95, and can be purchased for pick-up or delivery from Lazy Susan.

The condiment doesn’t need to be refrigerated, either. So, you can keep it handy at arm’s length to top whatever you fancy whenever you want.

Other Condiments Not To Miss: Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha and Curry Sriracha

And: Okazu Miso Chili Oil

And: Tiger Sate

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