So my friend Annabelle, who is Hawaiian Chinese, brought to me last week a jar of Lan Chi recently procured in Honolulu. We compared it to the Lan Chi sent to me by Paul Winalski. Paul's Lan Chi is milder and runnier than the darker, super-hot and thicker/pasty jar I bought in Hawaii a couple years ago, and the current batch from Hawaii is closer to my old batch than to Paul's. Interesting--it's as if it's being in more than one place, and though they're probably following the same recipe the ingredients aren't identical. Why one ends up in Hawaii and the other ends up on the American east coast I have no idea. They're both fantastic--but if I had to choose between the two then the New Hampshire Lan Chi gets my vote. It's milder, not mild just mildER, and just enough so that I can load up more of that great roasted chile flavor before my head gets blown off.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov