Thursday, November 18, 2010
Another great hot sauce choice
I loves me some hot sauce! Still first among equals in the Matty Boy kitchen are the Habanero sauces from El Yucateco. I haven't tried the Caribbean version pictured at the far left, but I have bought the "natural" version with no artificial colors and the green and the red. Yummy, great texture and HOT!!!
For the uninitiated, habanero is one heck of a hot chili. When I was a lad, Tabasco was considered somewhere between a condiment and a instrument of torture. Herb Caen used to joke about the couple married so long, they bought their second bottle of Tabasco. Nowadays, Tabasco is meh, barely a step above ketchup.
If you really need hot sauce, my first choice is El Yucateco.
If you've ever been to a Vietnamese noodle shop, you've seen the Sriracha bottle. Great packaging! Just the rooster, and one phrase in English "Sriracha HOT Chili Sauce", then a whole lot of Asian characters. If you can't read the characters, it makes the sauce look more dangerous. Hot sauce should be dangerous. I never have a bowl of pho without squeezing in some lime, tearing up some of the fragant herbs they bring to the table and pouring in some of that Red Rooster juice.
There is an Asian supermarket in my neighborhood where I shop for condiments where I bought my first bottle of Sriracha. The big bottle is very reasonably priced and I started using it in recipes where I like things spicy. I tried some taste tests of El Yucateco vs. Sriracha on fries, and El Yucateco is much hotter. Sriracha is more like zesty or tangy than actually hot, but it's still very flavorful and thick. For me, this is a big advantage over a runny sauce like Tabasco. I like to know in advance when I'm getting a forkful of hot sauce goodness.
A somewhat surprising development is that for all its exotic packaging and name, Sriracha is made in California by Huy Fong Foods. If you live in my neck of the woods, you can be all exotic and inscrutable and still be a locavore! Who knew?
And of course, while there are many good choices for hot sauces in local supermarkets, are any of the others anywhere near as fun to say as "YUCATECO!" or "SRIRACHA!"?
No, hypothetical question asker. Nothing else is nearly that much fun. Thanks for asking.