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Mar 8, 2009 11:40 PM

"sweet" or "sour" -- which kind of chowhound are you?

i like hot, vinegary dishes -- or just plain vinegary or "sour" from acidity, like lemon or lime.

frank's red hot sauce or sriracha on eggs, potatoes, in clam chowder, etc....

texas pete's pepper vinegar on greens, or cuban black bean soup, or just big limas with ham and cornbread.

love, love, love thai green papaya salad, som tum, with its salty, sweet, sour & hot kick. drink the leftover dressing -- without shame!

load up my pad kee mao noodles with the chilies in vinegar, and that awesome red chili in vinegar paste.

love pickles of every stripe, including pickled vegetables like hot pickled okra. love pickled banana peppers on my pizza, picalilli on beans, sandwiches, giardiniera on pizza, or just to snack. branston pickle on a ploughman's lunch platter. dill pickle sandwich!

just had sour pickle with the "garlic sirloin" at the texas de brazil restaurant (delicious meal in all respects, btw). what a great combination: savory, juicy, garlicky beef and sour pickle!

want a squeeze of lemon on seafood, tandoori dishes, smoked salmon....

have a ton of different mustards.

love pickled capers, green olives stuffed with pimento, artichokes....

indian chutneys and sri lankan sambols.

thai, chinese & vietnamese hot & sour soups and salads. (want to explore korean food!).

sauerkraut and porcupine meatballs , or with charcuterie. (love smoked meat & seafood, too. related, you think?). speaking of smoked AND sour, i am crazy for eastern carolina-style Q.

ceviche. gosh, i love ceviche.

pico de gallo. fresh salsa. pickled jalapeños.

key lime pie! fresh lemonade -- or, even better -- fresh limeade.

i could go on, but you get the picture.

i'd rather have an appetizer in the realm of the sour/hot versus a dessert. don't get me wrong, i like desserts, but not too sweet.

so, overall, i'm a "sour" person. (my mom might heartily second that... or mr. alka! ha!).
(i *can* be sweet, though ;-).

how about you? are you a "sweet" or "sour" chowhound? and when did you discover this clear-cut preference?

ps, my next sister is like me, my older sister is a "sweet." my mom is a "sweet." mr. alka is a "sweet." i'm wondering if "sweets" outnumber "sours"?

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  1. Definitely sour.

    I love all sorts of pickled vegetables, with kimchi being at the top of the list.

    I can eat noodles (cold) with just a mixture of rice wine vinegar and diced garlic.

    I also like Chinese preserved plums and prunes.

    And don't even get me started on Sour Plum Juice ... there's nothing better than a tall cold glass of sour plum juice on a hot summer day.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      are you talking about umbushi plums the things you put in those seaweed rice triangles? they are my favourite food in the whole world since i was two!
      back to the question i'm a sour mostly i am one of those freaks who really dislikes achingly sweet things but interistingly i dislike creamy or greasy or fatty tastes even more, and this has been true for me before i even knew about calories, my dad is the same hates butter, fat on meet batter on anything cream etc... but i love sour i eat whole lemons rind and all and lemon juice straight when i go to a juice bar they always look at me like i'm crazy and say "maybe we should add a couple of oranges or whatever, no! just give me my lemon juice (i must add i do drink other juices at times too and am not putting down other juices, juices are great ;-))

      1. re: umbushi plum

        Yeah, umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) are great ... forgot about those.

        I could suck down those things like a fish in water.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Umeboshi, yes.

          Sour all the way, especially as I've gotten older.

          Since all of us are saying this—doesn't it make sense that the more sophisticated/eclectic the tastes, the more likely to appreciate the more challenging ends of the spectrum (sour/bitter)?

          1. re: ipsedixit

            i know they rule i found a place where you can get a mixture of grilled eel and umeboshi plum paste triangles it isn't quite as good as the pure umeboshi but makes a nice change once in while ;-)

            1. re: ipsedixit

              i love umeboshi plums! my family who i visit in hawaii makes them from homemade. kinda strange, because they are filipino though

              1. re: ipsedixit

                More salt cured than pickled (and not really plums).

              2. re: umbushi plum

                Thoes triangles are musubi (see my "comfort foods" in amy profile) with umeboshi inside.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  thanks they are my favourite food and i've been getting around just describing them everytime i tell someone about them

            2. Me too, SOUR...

              I love som tum, kimchee, sunomono, spicy pickles, tabasco, frank's red hot, sour patch kids, extreme sour warheads, sour gummy worms, sour plums, etc...

              I also like to add salt to some things in order to up the sour quotient - such as green mangoes w/ salt & hot chili pepper, lemons, nectarine, etc.

              I was also this close to purchasing some bulk citric acid powder just so I could sour up my drinks...


              Can you imagine blending your own super sour, fizzy grapefruit flavored drink? I'm puckering up just thinking about it!

              1. The Brits use the term"savory"; sweet and savory. I'm a savory character, like a lot of spice, salt, sourness over sweet. My wife, on the other hand, is an unsavory character; a bad chocoholic. Gimme a raw oyster w/ Tabasco any day. She's a Godiva girl. (He, he.)

                Just call us Mrs. Sweet and Mr Savory

                3 Replies
                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  they use savory to denote sourness? i associate savory with umami, some kind of "meatiness" for lack of a better word.

                  [Fattiness? yes! according to wiki: . good article, btw].

                  i'm sure your wife would be delighted with being called an unsavory chocoholic. ;-).

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    Brits - and Canadians etc - would say "savoury". I'm definitely savoury, and while I love some sours, my tummy couldn't abit the sourness of the initial post.

                    In French, one says "salé" - that does not mean overly salty, but the non-sweet dishes that would be seasoned with salt, not sugar.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      I definitely prefer savory flavors accented with a little heat and a nice balance of sweet, sour, and salt. But I am definitely sweet!

                    2. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but there are a few sweet chili suaces, e.g. Lingham's from Malaysia (there are others), that are pretty good.

                      1. I grew up on Filipino food so of course I love sour flavors. Bright coconut vinegar in a chicken adobo. Fresh calamondin tarting up a plate of pancit. Lemon and vinegar competing in a bowl of dinuguan. The table isn't set until you bring out the bowl of chili vinegar and garlic to splash liberally on anything that needs a touch more of sour.

                        Now as a more urbane adult, I get my sour fix more globally. Kimchi from Korea, vindaloo from Goa, Larb from Laos.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JungMann

                          So you've been to Laos? Who do you think makes better Larb? The northern Laotians in Luang Prabang, central Laotians in Vientiane, or southern Laotians in Savannakhet? On average, I think I prefer Larb made by southern Laotians.

                          1. re: yummyrice

                            Laab (how does it get translated to "larb"?): But fully agree - Savannakhet or my house is best.

                            1. re: yummyrice

                              To clarify I haven't had the larb in Laos, nor the kimchi in Korea, but I do enjoy the international flavors of both dishes and more.

                              Sam, I suspect Laotian, and Thai in my experience, may suffer some of the creeping Rs one finds in certain Mandarin dialects. I typically see the word rendered as "larb" stateside and have seen beef rendered as "nua," "nuer" and "nuar."

                              1. re: JungMann

                                LOL! This is a late response but you guys are right that there is no "R" sound in Larb, but I'm using one of the transcription systems that is commonly used here in the SF Bay Area.

                                So "AR" is pronounced as "AA". =)

                                I guess the reason why we use the R letter is because we want people to know that the A in Larb is pronounced similar to the A in Car, Far, and especially Lard...LOL! But again, just don't pronounce the R in Larb.