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

    • Three Drunks on Train Harass Woman in Hijab, Commuters Do Nothing

      New York City police are seeking more information about men who harassed a young woman in a hijab on the subway this week. Yasmin Seweid, an 18-year-old business student, was verbally harassed by the men as she waited for a train on the platform, according to the New York Daily News. The three men were reportedly yelling “Trump” and called Seweid a terrorist as they followed her onto a 6 train in New York City’s east side.

      Yahoo Style
    • Dear Abby: As his mother, wife feud, he must take a side

      DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married man with one problem that doesn’t go away. I convinced my wife, “Ellen,” to move to Florida so we could be close to my family, but now she doesn’t trust them because of an altercation she had with my mother. Ellen says Mom made negative comments about her and lied about it. My intention was for everyone to come together as a family, but now I feel I must decide whether I can be a part of the family. If I do, my wife feels I am saying it’s OK for my family to hurt her. If I don’t, I’ll feel I’m missing out on spending time with them. Ellen no longer wants anything to do with my family and wants them to apologize. It has been a rough four years being trapped in

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • 50 Cent on Kanye West’s Breakdown: ‘You Could See That Coming’

      While many found Kanye West‘s breakdown and hospitalization shocking, fellow rapper 50 Cent says he actually wasn’t too surprised. “That was interesting because I kind of felt like you could see that coming,” 50 Cent said on the topic during a Watch What Happens Live appearance, Thursday. 50 Cent, 41, appeared on the New York City-filmed Bravo talk show with actress Leah Remini.

      People
    • Inside the Alleged Abduction of California Mom Sherri Papini

      Keith Papini details what happened before his wife was found alive.

      ABC News q
    • Sears is on the brink of catastrophe as stores closures loom and top execs flee the company

      Things aren't looking good for Sears. The company is shutting down dozens of Kmart stores this...

      Business Insider
    • Grandmother Finds the Mummified Body of Her Missing Grandson in the Attic 2-Years After He Was Reported Missing | B. Scott

      21-year-old Dyquain Rogers was reported missing on November 1st, 2014. On Wednesday, a mummified body believed to be the young man’s was found in the attic of his grandmother’s home. Investigators believe he committed suicide. via NY Daily News: Relatives of Dyquain Rogers are demanding a complete autopsy after the coroner said the death was likely a suicide, according to GoErie.com. “I don’t believe any of this stuff,” aunt Erica Jeffries-Jordan told the news website. “I want answers.” Rogers was last seen in the same house where he was found, which is also where he lived, Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook told the news website. Rogers was reported missing on Nov. 4, 2014. The body was in the Erie

      B. Scott | lovebscott.com q
    • This dog waits for his human to get off the school bus everyday even though she’s been away at college for months — just more proof that dogs are too good for us

      Carly Dunn left for college months ago – but her dog still hasn’t stopped waiting for her to get off the school bus…

      Hello Giggles
    • New Fake Amazon Email Scam Is Incredibly Easy to Fall For

      Have you ordered anything from Amazon in the past couple of weeks? Are you planning to in the next couple? If either is true, you might easily be victimized by a real-looking email, supposedly from Amazon, explaining that there's a problem with your order and asking you to re-enter some information. Whatever you do, don't comply. Both Amazon Prime members and non-members are reporting receipt of a very legit-looking email with the subject line, "Your Amazon.com order cannot be shipped." It begins: Hello, There was a problem processing your order. You will not be able to access your account or place orders with us until we confirm your information. Click here to confirm your account. It goes on

      Inc Magazine q
    • Trump targets another company, draws Sanders' criticism

      By Doina Chiacu WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump drew a rebuke from former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday, after turning his attention to another Indiana company planning a move to Mexico. "Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. Rexnord Corp , an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee, announced plans in October to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, employees told the Indianapolis Star at the time.

      Reuters
    • Adam Jones didn't like Orioles farewell gift to David Ortiz

      Orioles’ star Adam Jones presents David Ortiz with a dugout phone, which Ortiz smashed during a game in 2013. The David Ortiz farewell tour was filled with many memorable moments. Prior to his final game at Camden Yards, on Sept. 21, the Orioles rolled out the red carpet, showed highlights of Ortiz mashing home runs against the mutual rival New York Yankees, and then presented him with the actual visitor’s dugout phone he once destroyed during an in-game meltdown.

      Big League Stew
    • After His Wife's Tragic Death, 1 Celebrity Shared the Truth About Raising His Girl as a Single Dad

      Nearly six months ago, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt took on a new role: that of a single father to his 7-year-old daughter. His wife, Michelle McNamara, unexpectedly died in her sleep, and since that tragic day, Patton has come across a variety of heartbreaking realizations as he adjusts to this new life as a family of two. In a raw article for GQ, Patton shared in his own words how he came to the realization that despite being half of an amazing parenting team, he and his wife weren't actually equals. "Michelle was the point person, researcher, planner, and expediter. I was the grunt, office assistant, instruction follower, and urban Sherpa," Patton wrote. "I did idiot sweeps before we left

      PopSugar q
    • Seventeen
    • Woman Who Ate ‘Carbs All Day Every Day’ Drops 100 Lbs. After Eliminating Bread from Her Diet

      Kristina Guice had always been “the fat kid in school,” she says, so when the Tucson, Arizona, native got accepted to graduate school across the country in Long Island, New York, she decided this was her opportunity to make a change. Guice, 25, had recently lost a close friend — who had also been her weight loss inspiration — and got accepted to graduate school just two weeks later.

      People
    • Palin Says Trump's Carrier Deal Could Be 'Crony Capitalism'

      Gov. Sarah Palin is expressing concern over Donald Trump's recently announced deal with Carrier.

      ABC News q
    • New details emerge in Joe McKnight shooting and release of shooter

      After hearing criticisms of his office for releasing the man who admitted to shooting former NFL running back Joe McKnight, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a press conference to reveal some details of the case, including that the man who shot McKnight was in his car when he fired all three shots. McKnight was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon in New Orleans. Authorities said that Ronald Gasser, 54, shot McKnight.

      Shutdown Corner
    • This baby wombat thinks it’s a dog and we don’t have the heart to tell him otherwise

      Marsupials can be so dang cute, like this baby wombat that thinks it’s a dog. We’re no experts on wombat behavior, but…

      Hello Giggles
    • NYPD: Men yelled 'Donald Trump', tried to pull off victim's hijab on subway

      18-year-old Yasmine Seweid is recounting the ugly attack that happened on Thursday night. It was around 10 p.m. when the college student jumped on the 6 train to head home to New Hyde Park, when she noticed three young men in the car.

      WABC – NY
    • 15 Tiny Christmas Trees That Make a Big Imact (16 photos)

      If you live in a small home or just want to add on to your main tree, mini Christmas trees are for you. But don't let their tiny stature fool you — they'll add a super-size dose of Christmas cheer to your home. You'll see. From House Beautiful

      House Beautiful
    • Mexico on Carrier deal: 'Trump is telling the truth' about saving US jobs

      A Mexican official tells CNBC that "nobody" there believed Trump's campaign rhetoric, but they believe him now.

      CNBC
    • McGregor directs expletive-laced tirade towards Mayweather: I'll knock him out

      UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor had stern words for Floyd Mayweather Jr and Paulie Malignaggi as a move to boxing nears fruition.

      Sporting News