Join us as we go beyond the label with food brands that we love at Martie. Today, we chat with Jing Gao, the founder & CEO of the incredibly popular brand, Fly By Jing, bringing uncensored Chinese flavors to your kitchen! We are so thrilled to chat with Jing, because what she and her team are doing is so exciting, and delicious. We needed to know more, so we asked! Read all about Fly By Jing below, and be sure to shop deals on these incredible flavors, here.
We’ve been hearing about Fly By Jing everywhere, so we are thrilled to chat with you and learn more!
Martie: What’s the mission behind Fly By Jing?
Jing: I founded Fly By Jing in 2018 to bring uncensored, game-changing Chinese flavors to your modern kitchen. Fly By Jing is the product of a personal journey of discovery and coming home to self. Like me, Fly By Jing is born in Chengdu, but living in America. It’s rooted in tradition but made for the way we live today. It doesn’t conform to anyone else’s notions of value, taste, or tradition.
Featuring Fly By Jing Fire Hot Pot (65% OFF) here
Martie: How did the idea come to life for Fly By Jing?
Jing: I was born in Chengdu but raised all over the world, and spent a decade in Asia building an award-winning restaurant and an underground pop-up dining concept inspired by the popular ‘fly restaurants’ of Chengdu – hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they’re said to attract people like flies.
Fly By Jing really started in a few suitcases. Whenever I went on the road to host a pop-up dinner, my bags were packed full of high-quality ingredients that I couldn’t get anywhere but China.
In 2018, I traveled to California to attend Expo West, the largest natural food show in the US. I spent days visiting thousands of stalls but could recall just a handful of Asian food brands by the end, with even less diversity among the buyers and retailers walking the halls. When I went back to Shanghai, I knew the US needed these incredible flavors. I moved my life to California to make these flavors more accessible to everyone, and make everything taste better.
Martie: What’s your favorite Fly By Jing product?
Jing: This is so hard! All of our products are deeply personal. They don’t taste like anything you’ve ever tasted because they are my personal recipe, story and vision. Our OG Sichuan Chili Crisp and its sibling Xtra Spicy are the first and only all-natural, vegan, non-GMO chili crisp condiments. We launched Sichuan Chili Crisp as our first product on Kickstarter in the summer of 2018 and it became the highest-funded craft food project on the platform that same year, allowing me to produce my first big batch at scale. (and now it’s available in a TSA-approved Shorty Size!)
Chili crisp continues to be a core product as we’ve expanded Fly By Jing’s lineup of Sichuan flavor essentials, including a hot pot base (just add water, protein and veggies), and vinaigrette. I wrote The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp (which just debuted in September!) to show you how you can add chili crisp to literally everything– pour it on salads, use it as a marinade for proteins, dip for dumplings, or even amp up ice cream and pastries.
Martie: What has been your biggest “aha” moment when building Fly By Jing?
Jing: Back in 2018 when I visited Expo West for the first time, I realized how underrepresented multicultural brands were. After realizing there were so little Asian flavors present, I saw a huge opportunity to introduce diverse, bold and high-quality Chinese flavors to a U.S. audience.
On this journey I’ve realized that the greater mission of what we’re here to do is create space for more diverse voices to exist, because they deserve to exist – Asian food, or any kind of food, is not a monolith. This 5,000 year heritage of Chinese flavor, complexity, and culinary style comes alive through all of Fly By Jing supercharged flavors, which are unique and highly personal to me.
Martie: How did Fly By Jing get so well known?
Jing: When the pandemic hit in 2020 and many people were at home, our Sichuan Chili Crisp saw a massive rise in popularity as nearly everyone was spending more of their time in the kitchen. People were looking for ways to switch up their go-to meals, takeout, and easily bring elevated and diverse restaurant flavors to their home cooking. In Spring 2020, I shared an at-home recipe for Chili Crisp Vinaigrette with Food Editor Sam Sifton who featured it in The New York Times, and that made a tremendous impact in catapulting Fly By Jing into mainstream awareness. We grew more than 20x that year, and in doing so, created a new category that has become one of the most popular condiments in America today. Chili Crisp became an easy and delicious way to add a spicy, umami twist to any dish. From fried eggs, to toast, salads, noodles, dumplings, tacos, ice cream and so much more.
Martie: What’s in the pipeline next for Fly By Jing?
Jing: We are thrilled to be launching a new first-to-market product later this month (stay tuned @flybyjing for more details to come!). It’s inspired by the deep and captivating flavors of Chengdu that continue to inspire everything that I create. We’re expanding our retail presence (find our endcaps at Target this holiday season), and are creating gift-ready bundles for the holiday season. Heading into 2024 and celebrating Lunar New Year in February, we have a really exciting collaboration planned with a major motion picture and a cult-favorite cookware brand – stay tuned!
Save on Fly By Jing, only at Martie, here!