simu liu chili crunch

Simu Liu weighs in on Momofuku chili crunch trademark bullying

A huge debate has been the talk of the foodie world surrounding the popular Asian condiment, chili crisp, and Canadian actor Simu Liu has a lot to say about it.

Momofuku, a food company founded by American celebrity chef and restaurateur David Chang, is under fire for reportedly sending cease-and-desist letters to other US companies.

In a report from The Guardian, several businesses in the US claimed to have received letters from Momofuku for using the names "chili crunch" and "chile crunch," as the brand is trying to file a trademark in the US.

Chili crisp, or chili crunch, is a popular Asian condiment with dried chilis, garlic, onion and more, and many companies all over the world produce their own variation.

Many in the food industry have criticized the move by Momofuku.

One of the companies that received a letter is US-brand MìLà, a brand founded by second-generation Chinese-American couple Caleb Wang and Jen Liao.

Marvel actor Liu, who has worked with MìLà since 2023, called out Momofuku for "bullying businesses," challenging the brand to a head-to-head taste test of both products.

"Winner keeps the name, loser (it'll be you) backs off. Game on?" Liu added.

The actor explained the significance of chili crunch and crisp in Asian cooking, adding the product predates all businesses involved.

"Trying to claim ownership of it is like trying to claim 'ketchup' or 'mayo,'" he added.

"There's room for all in the marketplace, from the mom and pops to the MiLas and Momos!"

Liu isn't the only Canadian to weigh in on the drama, with Jannine Rane, founder of Toronto-based Zing Pantry Shortcuts, which sells its own chili crisp, sharing the impact Momofuku's actions could have on the food industry.

"While you may think this is a USA issue, sadly I can tell you that versions of this play out in Canada all the time," Rane said in an Instagram post.

"As food entrepreneurs, retailers, media and most importantly as consumers; we must strive to do better. We must take the opportunity to do it differently here and reward passion, storytelling, and expertise – not exploit it," she added.

"The alternative is letting the flavour of our society be dictated by grey suits, in grey buildings, reading grey charts, because small businesses won't survive," Rane continued.

"That would be a real shame. There is room for all of us."

Lead photo by

@simuliu/Instagram | @momofukugoods/Instagram

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