Newsletter - Q1 2021: Issue 2

Newsletter

Q1 2021: Issue 2

Exploring the bold world of chilies with insights, chef tips and delicious recipes.

Lee Kum Kee Newsletter Q1 2021 – issue 2
the flavor
is kee
Unlocking Menu Potential
Chilies Gain Steam

Some like it hot! Spicy food continues to surge around the globe, but the driving force behind consumption varies depending on the consumer. Here, we’ll explore all things chilies with insights, a primer on Scoville Heat Units, chef tips, delicious recipes and products that can help you add a kick to your menu.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT SWEET MEETS UMAMI
KEE INSIGHTS
more than
50%
of consumers
choose spicy options when dining out and making meals at home.1
Consumer Heat Level Preferences:
21%enjoy mild,
36%enjoy medium,
28%enjoy hot and
10%enjoy extremely hot2
↑59%
Asian-style chili sauces,
such as sriracha, sriracha mayo, sweet chili, gochujang and sambal, have seen steady growth over the past four years, up an average of 59% on menus.3
Bring the Heat
In the U.S., operators and manufacturers have responded to mainstream demand for Scoville Heat Units with extra-hot items like Nashville-style hot chicken and ghost-pepper-flavored everything (e.g., chips, donuts and tacos). And while some diners seek out blazingly hot foods to consume as a badge of honor, others are more intrigued by nuanced flavors.
Going Regional
Consumers are getting more familiar with region-specific spice profiles on the menu, seeking out offerings made with mouth-numbing Sichuan-style chili oils and sauces, sweet and spicy Indonesian-style sambal oelek, and fiery Chiu Chow-style chili oil. Flavors and spice levels can vary greatly depending on the pepper, meaning there’s something for everyone willing to explore the world of chilies.
Bring the Heat
chilli-pic
For Your Health
Chilies have a slew of purported health benefits. They contain vitamins and minerals; carotenoids, which have antioxidant properties; and capsaicin, which may lower blood pressure and boost metabolism.
A Primer on Scoville Heat Units4
  • The Scoville scale ranks peppers based on their number of Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
  • SHU is a measure of capsaicin content in a chili pepper mixed with water and sugar, then diluted until tasters cannot detect heat from the pepper
  • The number of SHU a pepper receives is based on how much dilution is required
Here are where some common pepper varieties fall on the Scoville scale:
  • For reference, pepper spray typically comes in at 2,000,000 – 5,300,000 SHU
  • A sauce made with a certain pepper likely has fewer SHU than the pepper itself
  • Lee Kum Kee spicy sauces rank anywhere from 500 to 8,000+ SHU on the Scoville scale, depending on the sauce and types of pepper used
Lee Kum Kee Spicy Sauces on the Scoville Scale
Sichuan Peppercorn Flavored Oil:
N/A (Sichuan peppercorn is not an actual chili! SHU does not apply)
Aromatic dipping and cooking oil with a unique mouth-tingling effect
View Product
Thai Sweet Chili Sauce:
Up to 500 SHU
Sweet, mild sauce made with chili peppers and garlic
View Product
Chili Bean Toban Djan:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Sichuan-style chili sauce made from a special blend of chilies and fermented beans
View Product
Chili Garlic Sauce:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Mildly hot chili sauce blended with garlic
View Product
Chili Oil:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Fragrant oil made by infusing ripe red chilies in soybean oil
View Product
Gochujang:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Korean-style spicy paste made with chili, fermented soybean and pear
View Product
Guilin Style
Guilin Style Chili Sauce:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Fiery chili sauce developed from a century-old recipe in Guilin, China
View Product
Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek Sauce:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Bold and aromatic hot sauce that originated in Indonesia
View Product
Sriracha Mayo
Sriracha Mayo:
501 – 3,000 SHU
Creamy sauce with a hint of spiciness
View Product
Sichuan Style Broad
Sichuan Style Broad Bean Sauce:
3,001 – 5,500 SHU
Salty, savory sauce made with Pixian broad beans
View Product
Sriracha Chili
Sriracha Chili Sauce:
3,001 – 5,500 SHU
Chili sauce that delivers consistent heat and the aroma of garlic and jalapeños
View Product
Chiu Chow
Chiu Chow Style Chili Oil:
5,501 – 8,000 SHU
Savory chili and garlic sauce made using an authentic recipe from Chiu Chow, China
View Product
Corporate Chef
Chef Teresa Oncel
Corporate Chef, Lee Kum Kee
Chef Talk
There's something exciting—daring even—about a menu that’s not afraid of heat. Diners clearly enjoy having spicy options—just look at the explosion of Korean gochujang and spicy chicken sandwiches on the market over the past few years. But your customers don’t need to be heat fiends to enjoy the benefits of chilies. You can incorporate spice in various ways to accommodate any diner. For instance, marinade chicken in fiery Chiu Chow Style Chili Oil for those craving a serious kick, or serve a milder sauce, such as Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, as a side to allow diners more control over the amount of spice they’re getting in each bite.
Also, depending on the type of chili, our products offer more than just heat. Take our Gochujang, for example, which is made with a mixture of fermented bean paste and chili that results in a delicious, complex flavor and umami taste. Most chilies used in our products are salt-cured and therefore allow the natural essences from the chilies to shine through and deliver deep, robust flavors.
Here are a few more tips to help differentiate your menu with chilies.
Chef Teresa’s Tips
1) Blend Chiu Chow Style Chili Oil (a favorite of ours and our customers!) with mayo to create a spicy burger sauce.

2) Add Gochujang to creamy ranch to create a salad dressing with Southeast Asian flair.

3) Create a signature hot sauce by combining multiple sauces and/or oils with complementary flavor profiles.
On-Trend Applications
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Wings
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Wings: With a spicy kick that keeps diners grabbing for “just one more,” these broiled wings are tossed in irresistible Chiu Chow Style Chili Oil and served with lightly salted Persian cucumbers on the side. Get the Recipe
Gochujang Pizza
Gochujang Pizza: The ultimate Italian-Korean-Mexican fusion pizza featuring a spicy, flavorful sauce blended with marinara and Gochujang and topped with mozzarella, pork carnitas, cherry tomatoes, red onion and arugula. Drizzle with Sriracha Mayo for some extra heat. Get the Recipe
Wontons with Hot and Spicy Sauce
Wontons with Hot and Spicy Sauce: Classic ground pork wontons made with Premium Soy Sauce and Pure Sesame Oil are topped with a craveable and fiery sauce featuring a blend of Sichuan Style Broad Bean Sauce, Pure Sesame Oil and Sichuan Peppercorn Chili Oil. Get the Recipe
Your Kee to Flavor Starts Here
Add unique and flavorful spice to your menu with chili sauces and oils from Lee Kum Kee!

1Food Navigator, “Why the Hot & Spicy Food Trend Is an Exciting Opportunity,” Nov. 5, 2020.

2FONA International, “Trend Insight: Sweet Heat,” Oct. 8, 2020.

3Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menu penetration growth 2016-2020.

4MasterClass, “A Guide to the Scoville Scale: How Spicy Peppers Are Ranked,” Nov. 8, 2020.

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