After David Chang's Chili Crunch Fiasco, Fly By Jing Makes Moves To Increase Accessibility

David Chang has apologized to the AA and NHPI communities for being a "trademark bully" after his company, Momofuku, sent out cease and desist letters to smaller Asian companies for using the words "chili crunch" to name or describe their chili crisp products. Momofuku owns the trademark rights to "chile crunch" and had previously applied for the trademark "chili crunch" as well. "We're not going to enforce the trademark," Chang said in his podcast. "And by doing so, it's possible that it becomes a generic term, and nobody can own it."

While Momofuku will no longer wage its "chili crunch" trademark war, it will retain its "chile crunch" trademark. It also remains unclear what will happen to the smaller Asian-owned brands that had received cease and desist letters. Amid this chili crunch fiasco, Fly By Jing, an Asian and female-owned brand known for premium Sichuan chili crisp products, has emerged as a hero and voice amongst AA and NHPI small businesses.

Recently, Fly By Jing has effectively lowered prices across major retailers such as Target, Whole Foods, Albertsons Safeway, and Sprouts. It launched in over 2,000 Walmart locations, offering its best-selling sauces at a new low price of $9.98. This expansion and price reduction is part of Fly By Jing's founder Jing Gao's mission to "introduce Americans to the electric flavors of her home province of Sichuan, China, and to dispel modern stereotypes surrounding Chinese cuisine," as per a press release.

Fly By Jing's strategic expansion amidst trademark controversies

Jing Gao stated in the press release, "We've worked extremely hard over the last four years throughout our supply chain to find efficiencies that have allowed us to significantly reduce our costs, which we are passing right along to our customers." 

Fly By Jing's swift and agile actions to expand the accessibility of its chili crisp condiments are well-timed and opportune — leveraging momentum, the culinary world's fascination with chili crunch, and a competitor's recent downfall. Since David Chang's chili crunch fiasco began, Fly By Jing has been openly critical of its competitor's trademark moves. In a Substack entry, Gao wrote, "The 'chile crunch' trademark should also not have been granted. It is a descriptive term for a cultural product, one that has existed in Chinese cuisine for hundreds of years." It may come as a surprise, however, that Fly By Jing had filed to trademark "Sichuan chili crisp" twice, once in 2019 and once on April 3, 2024. By April 8, Fly By Jing withdrew its trademark application for "Sichuan chili crisp," along with its application to trademark "Chengdu Crunch." 

As our intrigue with chili crisp intensifies, Fly By Jing has adeptly and timely capitalized on the rising tide of spicy waters to expand its market share and influence. Its actions suggest that it will quickly become a new Goliath of chili crisp, its eye on a market share worth billions of dollars, as demonstrated by Lao Gan Ma, the mother of chili crisp condiments.