Asian hot sauce taste test: Beyond Sriracha

Bon Appetit

View gallery

.
New Asian Sauces

Sriracha is only the beginning. (Credit: Matt Duckor)

If you're reading this story, it's almost certainly because you like Sriracha (the Huy Fong version or otherwise). But the world of Asian hot sauces is more than just the bright-red chile-garlic-vinegar slurry we know and love.

Across the continent, from China to archipelagic Southeast Asia to India, people are spritzing (or sometimes drowning) their meals with sauces that are sweet or salty, thick or thin, fruity or garlicky. Their one commonality is their capsaicin capaciousness--their ability to titillate and burn. And, perhaps someday, one may break on through to mainstream success on American tables. Here's a sampling of hot sauces we found at Asian markets, one of which could become the Next Hot Thing.








View gallery

.
Jufran Banana Sauce (Hot)

(Matt Duckor)

Jufran Banana Sauce (Hot)

Super thick and fruity, this favorite Filipino condiment is a type of banana ketchup developed during World War Two, when there was a shortage of tomato-based ketchup in the Philippines. Shake or stir it up and be patient--it makes Heinz look like water. Use it like a spicy ketchup to cut the intensity of rich foods like fried chicken or seafood, French fries, and grilled sausages. Try it as a barbecue sauce. Banana ketchup is naturally brownish (think over ripe bananas) so this crimson condiment owes its hue to food coloring. There's a regular banana sauce, too, but the hint of heat in this one makes life more exciting.


Burn factor: 2

(See also: Taste test: Canned tomatoes)



View gallery

.
Shark Sriracha

(Matt Duckor)

Shark Sriracha

The white cap seems rickety and the shark logo looks dangerous, but this popular Thai-made Sriracha charms your palate with excellent flavor.

Like the original Sriraja Panich, the Shark brand has bright heat, tanginess, and a pleasant fermented fragrance, but it's slightly less sweet. The bottle I got is "medium" and very pleasant tasting. Enjoy it like you would the Rooster sauce, but beware: You can't doodle with Shark. It's more liquid than its American cousin.


Burn factor: 3


View gallery

.
ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Manis Pedas

(Matt Duckor)

ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Manis Pedas

The Indonesian ABC brand is actually owned by Heinz, which maybe explains why these three sauces are so hard to pour. Unlike our beloved American condiment, though, they've got a kick. If your tolerance for heat is mild, go for the Hot and Sweet (sambal manis pedas), though it can be cloying, like candy sweet spicy; sugar is the first ingredient listed and there's tomato, too. Kids may enjoy this if they're training for a spicy life.

Burn factor: 1



View gallery

.
ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Extra Pedas

(Matt Duckor)

ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Extra Pedas

The Extra Hot Chili Sauce (sambal extra pedas) lives up to its name; I felt the heat in my hair follicles. The extra hot is soft on the manis (sweet) characteristic of its gentler sibling, but there is MSG, perhaps for an extra endorphin rush?

The chile blast pairs well with boldly flavored foods, like smoky barbecue. Serve it with patatas bravas for extra-brave guests.

Regardless, you'll be hitting the bottle often to cool down.

Burn factor: 5



View gallery

.
ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Asli

(Matt Duckor)

ABC Chili Sauces: Sambal Asli

The middle ground is Tropical Chili Sauce (sambal asli), my favorite. Chile is the first listed ingredient, but the heat isn't searing, and there's no tomato or MSG. Texture- and flavor-wise, it's almost as if you took Shark brand Sriracha and thickened it to the consistency of Huy Fong's Rooster sauce.

So put it into a squirt bottle and go to town on practically anything, from tuna salads and omelets to fried rice. Tinker with it for a chicken marinade.

Burn factor: 3.5



View gallery

.
Maggi Masala Chilli

(Matt Duckor)

Maggi Masala Chilli

Sweet, hot, and pungent, with a cuminlike edge, this Indian hot sauce pushes your palate to the edge, but won't push it overboard. I always go back for more--against my better judgment. It's great with deep-fried foods (e.g., samosas, pakoras, spring rolls) and fabulous with grilled meats too.

Try it with dishes and cuisines that are similarly spiced, like tacos, a lamb stir-fry with cumin, and falafel sandwiches.

Burn factor: 4




View gallery

.
Glory Chicken Chilli Sauce

(Andrea Nguyen)

Glory Chicken Chilli Sauce

Chile sauces are usually multipurpose, but this one from Singapore is just for chicken--specifically Hainan chicken rice, the ultra-popular one-dish meal of poached chicken atop rice cooked in chicken broth. Glory's sauce combines chile, garlic, and ginger for a slightly chunky texture and wonderfully raw perfume, as if it had been freshly made.

Try it with roast chicken (homemade or store-bought). It perks things up nicely without killing your senses.

Rooster rating: 2


More from Bon Appetit:

Spring Vegetables: 26 Ways to Eat 'Em

8 Essential Kitchen Gadgets

Top 20 Best-Tasting Burger Recipes

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Ferne McCann is pregnant with acid attack suspect Arthur Collins' baby

      Ferne McCann's boyfriend, Arthur Collins, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder last night.

      Yahoo Celebrity UK
    • Illinois college student killed in freak accident during track and field meet

      WHEATON, Ill. –  A college student was killed on Saturday during a track and field meet in suburban Chicago. Friends gathered at a vigil at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.  said the student was named Ethan Roser.  They said Roser was killed during a track and field event hosted by Wheaton College on Saturday afternoon. Witnesses said Roser was hit in the head with a "hammer," which is a heavy metal ball attached to a thin wire. In men's events, the hammer weighs 16 pounds. In women's, it weighs almost 9 pounds. It is not clear which type of hammer was involved in the tragic accident. Friends said that Roser was a freshman on the soccer team. He was volunteering at the meet.

      Fox News q
    • Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      People
    • Kim Kardashian's Dress Is Completely See-Through (38 photos)

      From sweatshirts to slip dresses and all that's in-between, check back as we track Kim Kardashian West's ongoing street style looks. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • Video: A look inside the cabin where missing Tennessee teen was found

      The national manhunt comes to an end with ex-teacher Tad Cummins in FBI custody.

      ABC News q
    • Aaron Hernandez's hidden sexuality fueled the murder of Odin Lloyd, police sources say

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Then the 27-year-old former NFL star serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder, jammed the track of his cell door with cardboard to prevent guards from coming in, slicked the floor with liquid soap and shampoo (which investigators believe he did to make it harder for him to back out in case he lost his nerve), wrapped his bed sheet around his neck multiple times and then tied one end of it to a bar on the window of his cell. Hernandez was then rushed to UMass Leominster hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. It was an ugly end to the former NFL star’s often ugly life and it came on the same day players on his former team traveled to the White House to celebrate the New England Patriot’s Super Bowl win.

      Newsweek q
    • Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

      Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world's major cities.

      Business Insider q
    • Ron Howard, Henry Winkler Mourn Death of ‘Happy Days’ Costar Erin Moran

      “OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon,” tweeted Henry Winkler, who most know as The Fonz. Moran’s big brother on the show, Ron Howard, also expressed his grief over her passing, writing, “Such sad sad news.

      The Wrap
    • American Airlines flight attendant put on leave after clash with passengers captured on video

      It's been less than two weeks since a video of a bloodied passenger being dragged off a United Airlines aircraft ignited a national discussion about the airline industry’s treatment of passengers, and now, yet another onboard incident captured on video is raising eyebrows -- and it's resulted in the immediate grounding of a flight attendant. A video posted to Facebook on Friday by Surain Adyanthaya -- a passenger onboard American Airlines flight 591, from San Francisco to Dallas -- shows an intense confrontation between a flight attendant and at least two passengers at the front of the aircraft while it is still on the tarmac in San Francisco. The heated moment began when a flight attendant took away a stroller from a female passenger, Adyanthaya told ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, which reported that the woman was from Argentina and traveling with her two children.

      Good Morning America
    • Man Attacked by 2 Dogs While Trying to Protect His Jack Russell Terrier

      A caught-on-video attack by two dogs on Catalina Island this week left a Huntington Beach man in the hospital and his Jack Russell terrier seriously injured.

      Tribune
    • Grandmother wonders if she is obligated to baby-sit

      Dear Amy: I am a 67-year-old divorced woman. I live about 10 minutes from my daughter and baby-sit for my 18-month-old granddaughter two days a week. My daughter pays me a little bit, and I use that money to buy lunch food and snacks. My granddaughter's brother is almost 9n. My daughter wants me to keep both children during summer vacation, but I know that my grandson will be very bored. All he wants to do is play games on my Kindle. There is not much I can do that will interest two children with such a large age span. My problem is that I love my grandchildren very much, but I really don't enjoy baby-sitting. I just don't have the energy or creativity to keep the children occupied. There are

      Chicago Tribune q
    • Missing Teen Elizabeth Thomas Returns Home As Details Emerge On Kidnapping

      Tennessee high school student Elizabeth Thomas has reunited with her family after going missing for more than a month with Tad Cummins, the teacher accused of kidnapping her.

      Yahoo View
    • Bottled water is now more popular than soda — why you should avoid both

      U.S. consumers spent $21 billion on bottled water last year.

      MarketWatch q
    • Aaron Hernandez's Sex Life Probed as Murder Motive, Police Source Says

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek
    • Police: Dismissed Michigan State player sexually assaulted woman while girlfriend waited in car

      Police detective's testimony is damning for former four-star recruit.

      NBC Sports: CollegeFootballTalk q
    • Airline to slap belligerent passengers who delay flights with hefty fines

      After one too many incidents involving belligerent customers -- who also happened to be members of parliament -- Air India announced that unruly passengers who cause a flight delay of up to one hour will be slapped with a hefty $7,750 (5 lakh in rupees) fine. Last month, a member of parliament was charged with assaulting a 60-year-old airline staffer with his slippers during an altercation that delayed an Air India flight.

      AFP Relax News
    • American Airlines apologizes for onboard clash over stroller

      American Airlines on Saturday apologized to a female passenger and suspended an employee after a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral, in the latest embarassment for a U.S. carrier over how it treated a customer. The clip, posted to Facebook on Friday by a bystander on the flight, shows a woman in tears with a young child in her arms, and a man emerging from his seat to confront a male flight attendant. Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who put the video on his page, said in his post that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller from the woman, hitting her with it and just missing her child.

      Reuters
    • It looks like House Democrats just won a big victory in the Trump-Russia investigation

      The House Intelligence Committee said on Friday that it had invited three former officials with...

      Business Insider
    • Katy Perry got a Kim Kardashian-inspired makeover, and Kim loves it as much as we do

      Proving that she’s just as obsessed with the Kardashian’s brand of fame as we are, Katy Perry got a Kim Kardashian-inspired makeover…

      Hello Giggles