Chile flakes seem simple if you immediately picture the red pepper flakes at a pizzeria, or in a plastic packet in your pizza delivery box. But they come in as many varieties as there are dried hot peppers, which are ground into chile flakes, sometimes with other ingredients added, such as with Japanese shichimi togarashi, and consumers hungry for global flavors are eating them up.
Apart from their ubiquity with pizza, varieties of chile flakes also are common in various Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese and Thai.
Chile flakes are known by 72% of the population, particularly Millennials and Asian consumers, according to market research firm Datassential. They are found on 3.6% of menus in the United States, a 39% increase over the past four years.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this Flavor of the Week and see how one restaurant is using it on its menu.