Lao Gan Ma

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Lao Gan Ma
老干妈 3.jpg
Lao Gan Ma brand flavored tofu chili sauce
TypeChili sauce
Created byTao Huabi
Main ingredientsChili peppers
Lao Gan Ma
Simplified Chinese老干妈
Traditional Chinese老乾媽
Literal meaningold godmother

Lao Gan Ma (Chinese: 老干妈; also called Laoganma) or Old Godmother is a brand of chili sauces made in China.[1][2] The sauce is produced by Laoganma Special Flavour Foodstuffs Company,[3] which was established in 1997.[2] Tao Huabi from Guizhou province began the development of the sauce in August 1996, employing 40 people at that time in a workshop environment.[2] 1.3 million bottles of the sauce are produced daily.[2] The product is sold in China and over 30 other countries.[2] Tao Huabi is the owner of the company, and her son Li Guishan became the first president of the company.[2] Women of China magazine reported in January 2011 that the company's assets were 1.3 billion yuan (US $190 million) and that the company had 2,000 employees at that time.[4] Lao Gan Ma is one of the successful corporations that have introduced foreigners to Chinese cuisine.


Lao Gan Ma on shelf
Lao Gan Ma being spooned out of a jar

A variety of flavors are produced, such as Spicy Chili Crisp, Chili Oil with Black Bean, Fried Chili in Oil, Hot Chile Sauce, and Spicy Bean Paste, among others.[5]

Recalled in Australia[edit]

On 25 February 2015, due to the failure to declare the fact that the chili sauce contains peanuts, which may cause strong reactions in those allergic to peanuts, Tek Shing Trading PTY (Lao Gan Ma's importer) recalled all products that contained peanuts in New South Wales and also indicated that buyers could be refunded.[6]

Counterfeit products[edit]

Counterfeit products that are similar to Lao Gan Ma proliferated in China, which Tao countered by utilizing a branch of third-party private enterprises to target counterfeiter businesses.[2][4] Counterfeit products proliferated due to an application to trademark the product being denied by the Chinese government.[2] After the trademark request was denied, over 50 counterfeit Lao Gan Ma came into fruition.[4] The trademark application was later approved in 2003 after a lengthy lawsuit against a counterfeiter in Hunan Province.[2]

Recipe dispute[edit]

After 2016, Lao Gan Ma's sales in China have declined for two years in a row. According to reports, Lao Gan Ma’s annual income reached 4.549 billion yuan in 2016, 4.447 billion yuan in 2017, and 4.389 billion yuan in 2018. [7] This is because Lao Gan Ma changed its ingredients after 2011.

After the company was taken over by the founder's son, in order to save costs, the pepper variety was changed from Guizhou Chili to Henan Chili.[8] Chili in Guizhou are large in size, full in body and contain more water. This difference makes Guizhou chili more suitable for making hot sauce, which can give the sauce an aroma other than the spicy flavor. After switching to Henan chili, Lao Gan Ma lost its unique flavor.[9] In 2019, Tao Huabi became the manager of the company again, and Lao Gan Ma re-used Guizhou chili.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Spice cream: Try a Lao Gan Ma chili sauce sundae|Society|News| Archived 2014-08-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i The illiterate woman behind the Laoganma chili sauce excelene salsaempire|Economy|People| Archived 2014-08-09 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Guizhou's Laoganma achieves revenue of 510 million yuan
  4. ^ a b c "Chili Sauce Empress". Women of China. January 13, 2011. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Products". Lao Gan Ma. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Lao Gan Ma chili sauce recalled in Australia over undeclared peanut". Want ChinaTimes. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  7. ^ a b Li, Zhenxing (2020-01-22). "Tao Huabi returned to Lao Gan Ma to stop falling". China Daily.
  8. ^ "Guizhou chili abandoned by Lao Gan Ma".
  9. ^ Wang.XY (2020-04-02). "Why is Lao Gan Ma no longer *hot* in China?". Panda!Yoo. Retrieved 2020-07-23.

External links[edit]