“I have vivid memories of family feasts around my grandparents’ table,” says Jing Gao, founder of Fly By Jing. “It’s during those feasts that I started to realize that the perception of Chinese food around the world was quite different from the nuanced, sophisticated flavors I experienced.”

And it was those flavors that inspired Gao to begin her business in 2018. Now, Fly By Jing crafts condiments like a spicy, savory Sichuan Chili Crisp and sweet-umami Zhong Dumpling Sauce—all representing her own unique experience with Sichuan cuisine.

“I was born in Chengdu, but my family moved around quite a bit,” says Gao. I gave myself the name Jenny because the kids at my school in Europe couldn’t pronounce my name... As I started to get more connected to the food and the flavors of my hometown, I also started to find my own voice and to create space for myself. So I decided to return to my given name of Jing... By holding up a mirror to myself, I’m creating space for others who want to challenge the status quo of what Chinese food is ‘supposed’ to look or taste like.”

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Photos: Courtesy of Jing Gao and Brianna Coleman