Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce
- jonkyo Jul 20, 2014 04:31 PM
Sriracha sauce contains sugar that intrudes upon a true hot sauce enthusiast's appreciation of a sauce that is basically a hot peppers puree.
The sudden popularity of Sriracha sauce a decade ago, did not hit me until I was in the US and UK. There I even saw a housemate from Mainland China, already living in the UK for several years, claim that this Sriracha sauce was a necessary item for the kitchen table at all times.
We see how some region's appreciation needs to come with a watering down, or a corruption of the original. Likewise, these trends convert people to the watered down trend in taste. That is just my assessment.
A negative that grew from this hyped up appeal and marketing scam, was to see the more appropriate containers of hot sauce, a variety of two to three in some cases, at Chinatown restaurants be monolithically replaced with a single bottle of Sriracha.
That aforementioned affect in Chinatown is the same as seeing Boars Head 100% used as all deli meats.
This causes me for one, not to eat as a customer, in otherwise nice food venues, as I opt for real hot sauce, as opposed to this fraud. Pardon my expression.
Earlier this month Sriracha sauce made it on a list in the Financial Times, in the Arts Weekend section article entitled '6 Super-Hot Food Trends You Need to Know About'. The article predicted a buying spree that may cause Srirachi sauce to be in limited supply.
This speaks more about the ignorance of the taste of the masses, then it does true quality of a product.
And if this is not bad enough, there is even a cookbook based on this highly profitable phony hot sauce, that has watered down the tables of Chinatown. T-Shirst available also. Every myth needs a T-Shirt.
Let us not forget where from the chilli came to Asia.
To shatter the myth of this so called great sauce, I propose several better sauces that are a must for the kitchen:
Inca's Food Rocoto Super Picante
Sambal Oelek, by the Sriracha maker Huy Fong Foods, contains no sugar and is a wonderful alternative to the hyped up commodity that took the world by storm about a decade ago.
The Habanero XXXtraHot Sauce El Yucateco Mayan Recipe is so wonderful and with the INCA rocoto suace, these do not contain seeds and particles of pepper skin, so they are a true sauce, that are great for cooking and adding to food at the table.
"Any other Sambal Oelek lovers out there? ... I add it to my peanut butter sauce, hubby likes it on scrambled eggs. ... the second ingredient in sriracha (the first ingredient in both is chiles; there's no sugar in sambal apparently)."-foodphilo
Mayan Kutbil-Ik by El Yucateco "We rescued this recipe from the culinary traditions of the ancient Mayan civilization, hence the name “Kutbil-Ik” Mayan word meaning “crushed chili”.
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I have to disagree.
<We see how some region's appreciation needs to come with a watering down, or a corruption of the original.>
Some would call that an improvement or variation. Not watering down or corruption. Otherwise, all American foods (let it be pizza or hamburgers) are all water down corruption.
<...that has watered down the tables of Chinatown...>
And most Cantonese Chinese kitchens uses Koon Chun condiment, and Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce.... Wide spread use does not mean watered down. P.S.: Lee Kum Kee is the first company which invented the oyster sauce. I doubt anyone can claim its oyster sauce is watered down.
<I propose several better sauces that are a ...>
Your first and third sauces are completely different sauces. It would be like saying Kikkomen Tamari is better than Koon Chun double dark soy sauce -- comparing apples and oranges.
As for your second choice, I have it and I like it, but it is also a different thing.
<Sriracha sauce contains sugar that intrudes upon a true hot sauce enthusiast's appreciation of a sauce....>
It is what it is. Siracha chili sauce always has sugar. Japanese soy sauce tends to have a more alcoholic taste than Chinese soy sauce. We shouldn't say Japanese soy sauce intrudes soy sauce enthusiast's appreciation because it has an alcoholic flavor.
Sriracha sauce is named after the Thailand location Si Racha. Many credit Thanom Chakkapak for creating this sauce. The Thailand made Sriraja Panich sauce traces its root to Thanom Chakkapak, and claims to be the original version. It is much sweeter since it has three times the amount of sugar than Huy Fong Sriracha.
So.... if you want to call Huy Fong Sriracha has been watered down from the original recipe because Huy Fong's version has *cut down* the amount of sugar, then I can understand.
Oh I see where you are coming now. You are saying that Sriracha sauces should not be used for Chinese food, right? I thought you were saying something much wider.
It is an interesting idea. I can kind of see some levels of truth to this. However, there are thousands (or millions) of Chinese recipes. I am sure many of them will work well with Sriracha sauce.
Even if what you said is truth (that is Sriracha sauces have no place for Chinese food), the fault lies with the users, not the producers or creators of the sauces.
Let's say I drive my car into the river as a boat.... whose fault is it that the car sinks to the bottom of the river?
"Even if what you said is truth (that is Sriracha sauces have no place for Chinese food), the fault lies with the users, not the producers or creators of the sauces."
That is exactly my point.
Of course in the home one is more liberal, to apply any hot sauce one likes. I typically have a Chinese and some others, though mainland does have a deficit in good factory produced hot sauces, that have a wide distribution.
On the island of Taiwan there are good sauces.
Srirachi I will have to say is the Roman Empire of hot sauces, crushing all individuated expressive hot sauces in its marketing path.
<Srirachi I will have to say is the Roman Empire of hot sauces, crushing all individuated expressive hot sauces in its marketing path.>
In Taiwan? Or in US? (the crushing thing)
At my local Chinatown (Philly), I see a lot of Srirachi in the Vietnamese restaurants. Most of the Chinese restaurants have something more like these:
I was from California, so I have been to SF Chinatown, Oakland Chinatown, Toronto Chinatown.
"...crushing all individuated expressive hot sauces in its marketing path."
You keep on mentioning their marketing.
Have you ever seen an ad for sriracha? On TV or print media? Heard one on the radio?
How do you figure they're a marketing juggernaut? It seems like you're just repeating it because you like the sound of it.
I used to volunteered in presidential elections. Let me tell you there are the "air campaign" and "ground campaign" to any campaign/marketing.
Air campaign includes TV ads, TV interviews, radio radio ads.... . Ground game is about about knocking people's doors, churches, school clubs, asking for favors......etc.
Sriracha probably does not have a large air campaign, but it sends out local Chinese triads (mafia) to force you to use the sauce. Just saying.
Our friend, jonkyo, was probably a victim of this ground tactic.
the marketing is mass displays on shelves in supermarkets, grocers, and restaurant tables.
Supermarkets have long been divisive in marketing though display.
The rooster is the symbol that carries to people's minds, the message of the brand.
The bottle with its green squirt spout, is also a marketing ploy that makes its mark in people's minds similar to the green paper on the neck of Tabasco sauce.
Packaging is important in any marketed item. They are thought up in some extent, by design and marketers, hired to sell the product.
I think quality products do not need to be marketed in this manner. But people are conditioned by television and supermarket processed food etc.
Best soup I have purchased is one without a wrapper, made by a local and sold to retailers in the open markets.
Best hot sauce I have had has been in house made at family owned restaurants, regardless of cuisine.
"I think quality products do not need to be marketed in this manner. "
Just to make sure I understand you correctly, by 'in this manner,' you mean:
In bottles. With a cap ostentatiously colored green rather than a more respectable corpse-gray. Along with a crudely drawn picture of a barnyard animal. And then placed on supermarket shelves.
Right? This is how they crush competitors beneath their marketing blitz?
In all honesty, I think jonkyo may be joking at this point..... I think.....
<The rooster is the symbol that carries to people's minds, the message of the brand.
The bottle with its green squirt spout, is also a marketing ploy that makes its mark in people's minds similar to the green paper on the neck of Tabasco sauce.>
David Tran started his Huy Fong Sriracha in 1983. Back then, his "company" was just two of his relatives and himself, and they were barely getting by. This bottle design was pretty much from the old days, and it is as simple as it can get: just a rooster with a bunch of Vietnamese, Chinese and English white color texts. I don't think it can get more simple than this.
I really doubt the three of them (barely makes ends meet) came up with some evil genius "bottle design" that crunched their competitors.
Here is a photo of various different Sriracha sauces including the Huy Fong one. Pretty much any of its competitors has a more colorful and designer-like bottle.
I was excited and then saddened in Berlin to find the red cap version - when I saw it, I thought "FINALLY, I'm going to get some heat in the land of currywurst=spicy!" And then I tasted it and realized that while it was hotter than the German green cap version, it certainly wasn't hot by my standards - not even as hot as the American green cap version. I also found yellow and lavender caps in Germany that were supposed to be even milder. The search for actual HOT sauce in Germany continues!
Strange. I've got a pretty high tolerance for heat, and I found the red top to be *significantly* hotter than the green top. I don't really think sriracha is produced differently in Germany (tho perhaps without the addition of HFCS -- who knows).
I'm quite surprised that the red top sriracha doesn't seem to be available, at least at the Asian stores where I live.
Also, most Asian grocers in Germany carry and abundance of hot and spicy condiments, including sauces. Shouldn't be all that difficult to find.
Of course, there's always horseradish :-D
Hm, interesting. I agree with you that the red top one is much hotter than the green here in the States, but that wasn't my experience there. I've also never seen the yellow or lavender tops here. Maybe it was a knock-off brand, although it did have the rooster on the label, if I recall correctly.
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Sriracha (rooster brand, anyway) is extremely popular because it doesn't have the character of other hot sauces. It's heat, sweetness, acid and not a lot of depth on its own. And this is why it goes well on such a huge variety of foods, while many more flavorful and distinct hot sauces are left to their niche markets. It's a ketchup alternative, and not a bad one at that.