What’s the big deal about chilli in Asia?


When you imagine eating something “spicy”, there’s a big chance you’ll think of an Asian food. It’s clear that Asia often tops the lists of spiciest cuisines in the world. But what exactly defines “spicy”? And what makes spicy food so popular? Mick and I answered all that and more in our exploration of Asia’s relationship with chili.

I provided initial story angles, research on data sets, and analysis of the different sauces to come up with our chili sauce ingredient network–all driven by my own love for spicy food! The sauces were crowdsourced from our co-founder Peking’s network of Southeast Asian contacts, and our own friends and family.

Data Visualization
Bianchi Dy, Mick Yang
Network of common ingredients paired with chili and their importance in achieving great-tasting dishes Grid of chili sauces from Asian countries

We collected sauces and recipes from friends and family, who recommended their top 3 most representative sauces of their country. Each sauce was broken down into component ingredients, which we analyzed with a focus on salt, fat, acid, and heat. Our callouts were peppered with additional tidbits of info from our co-founder Loh Peiying, who is an avid homecook!