A Tangy Touch

Mr Bing Chili Crisp is a crunchy, umami-packed condiment and cooking ingredient that’s a tad sweet and just a bit spicy. Inspired by Beijing street food of jianbing, it’s made from crispy garlic, onions, rice, bran, mushroom powder, and a blend of spices. Put it on eggs, rice, pizza, pasta, chicken, and burgers, or eat it straight.

Co-founders of Mr Bing, Brian Goldberg and Benjamin Duvall love Chinese food. After living in China for over a decade and operating street food carts and kiosks in Hong Kong and New York, they made their restaurant’s version of Chili Crisp available to everyone.

Inspired by a popular breakfast on the streets of northern China and Taiwan, jianbing is a large, thin, savory pancake batter combining wheat, mung bean, and grain flour. The batter, eggs, and sauces with sesame seeds and scallions are cooked quickly by spreading the batter on a large frying pan or a specialized flat hotplate. Mr Bing captures the most exciting elements of modern Chinese street food like jianbing and interprets them into condiments and ingredients for the foodie and everyday cook.

“Both Brian and I love Chinese food, especially street food, and ate jianbing every morning,” explains Duvall.

The Chinese call any flat flour-based food a bing, and a word is added to the front to describe the food, such as jianbing to describe a savory, grilled crepe.

“Jianbing is usually sold off carts or little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and there was a cart outside our school and offices every morning, making these bings. We ate it for breakfast every morning,” adds Goldberg.

“I knew this would appeal to a wide spectrum of flavor palates, along with the show and entertainment factor of watching the bing being made, talking to the street vendor, and interacting with them,” says Goldberg. “This is comfort food, with the smoke, especially on a cold morning with the smoke, and it is a hand food so you can walk and eat it.”

Mr Bing was initially started as a Chinese street food concept with locations in Hong Kong and New York City.

“When I first started the restaurants, I was going to call it Goldberg’s Chinese Crepes or Golden Bing, and I was playing with lots of names,” says Goldberg. “One night, while having drinks with a colleague, he said, ‘Mr Bing’ and I knew that was the name. It fit the logo I had created as a symbol of wonderful Chinese food.”

Goldberg and Duvall might have met in Beijing, but they both hail from the United States.

Duvall grew up between San Antonio and Boston, and while attending college, he developed an interest in China, including Chinese medicine and its history. He had the opportunity to immigrate to China in the 1990s, living there for years and operating two tech companies.

Born in the Bronx, and raised in the suburbs (Rockland County), north of New York City, Goldberg decided to major in Chinese while attending college. In fact, he was the one to create the Chinese Studies program at his college, which included studying abroad, where he met Duvall.

“At the time, I was really into film, photography, the arts, Chinese literature, and landscape painting. To be able to study this abroad was really an awesome experience,” says Goldberg. “I was actually pre-med and very interested in Chinese medicine, including acupuncture.”

Duvall would sell his companies, meet and marry his wife, start a family in Shanghai, and live in Spain before moving to New York City to join another tech company. The two friends reconnected, and when Mr Bing’s restaurants closed in 2019, they focused on Mr Bing Chili Crisp.

“I decided to do a career transition into the food and beverage industry,” explains Duvall. “I always wanted to be involved with food, especially Chinese food, as part of Chinese culture. Brian and I are partners, and I am thrilled to be part of this endeavor.”

“More people are studying Chinese, especially abroad. There is also a renaissance here in the States of more people searching for stronger and different flavors, including Chinese street food,” adds Goldberg.

The Mr. Bing Chili Crisp is made-in-the USA with traditional ingredients but without ingredients such as MSG, preservatives, sesame and peanut (common allergens), or fermented bean paste, which makes it more adaptable to cooking in a larger variety of dishes—one reason it’s used by hundreds of restaurants in diverse cuisines across the US. Most recently, Mr Bing has partnered with Celebrity Chef Jet Tila—Chef Jet will assist the brand in many business facets, including original recipe creation and inspiration for everyday meals, support for foodservice partners and brand relationships, as well as ideas for future Mr Bing innovation. 

For distribution and other information, visit mr-bing.com and follow on Facebook @ MrBingNYC, Instagram @ mrbingnyc, and Twitter @ MrBingNYC

Read also: A Tangy Touch | Food and Beverage Magazine