Chili oil is traditionally used in Asian cuisines, but there is one brand that is breaking the mold and forging a new path for the condiment. It is crunchy, spicy, garlicky, and started by accident. It is Zindrew Chili Oil, a well loved spice that goes with anything.
Meet Andrew and Zin Lee, the masterminds behind Zindrew! Andrew is a Taiwanese American professional golfer who loves food and business. Zin is a respiratory therapist whose family hails from Burma. Zin and Andrew never actually planned on starting a chili oil business. Instead, Zindrew started because of a sweet surprise for Zin the chili lover. Andrew shares, “Zindrew Chili started by accident. Zin was tired of the mediocre chilli oil that we buy from markets and restaurants. She was just not happy. Being the foodie that I am, I decided to surprise her with homemade chili oil. I went to the market and started picking out ingredients that I wanted to make chili oil with. I spent about two days trying different combinations and finally stumbled upon the recipe we have now. We gave some to friends and family and all of a sudden people were asking us for chili oil!” And thus, Zindrew was born.
Zindrew is both delicious and unique. There are so many chili oils on the market, but Zindrew stands out because of the chili oil’s intentionality and universality. “Our chili oil has a lot of garlic!” Andrew says. “Our flavor profile is very umami, savory, garlicky, and just a tad sweet. When I designed the recipe, I was focused on texture and flavor. I didn’t want our chili oil to have any type of seafood or fermented bean in it. I wanted this chili oil to be used universally. A flavor that would go well on everything! Zindrew chili is not just good on Asian food, but also goes really well with Mexican food as well as American foods such as burgers and pastas.”
Even though Zin and Andrew had created a fantastic product, it still took a lot of work to get Zindrew off the ground. They were essentially starting from scratch, and the hardest part was growing their business. Everything was part of a steep learning curve, from sourcing ingredients and jars to improving their packaging. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, that changed things even more. All the golf courses closed, and Andrew was left wondering what to do with the newfound time. Because everyone was stuck eating at home, he decided to start delivering Zindrew to customers. “Knowing that people like our chili and needed it in their kitchens, that’s what motivated me to keep going,” he shares. Community is also integral to Zindrew, and as business owners in the San Gabriel Valley Zin and Andrew feel loved and supported. He says, “The community is everything to us! It’s just a great feeling when we see everyone coming out to our popups and showing support. We can’t thank you enough.” Zindrew also collaborates with other local eateries to sell their chili oil, and Zin and Andrew want to convey their sincere thanks to all their partners as well.
In the future, Zin and Andrew want to continue creating their high quality crunchy garlic chili oil while also explaining to new flavors and other condiments. They also want to bring Zindrew into the markets to share their creation with an even broader audience and make getting their products more convenient. Finally, Zin and Andrew want to say thank you to each and every one of their customers, welcome anyone to send feedback, and “remember to put Zindrew on EVERYTHING!”
If you are interested in carrying Zindrew, please contact Zin and Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org
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