This summer has been all hot sauce, all the time in my apartment. That little (or big) kick in the mouth feels the right answer to combating the oppressive mugginess (of the air), and the inevitable sluggishness (of me). I tend to prefer hot sauces higher on the heat gradient, and that do that slow burn in your throat and stomach, instead of just setting your mouth immediately on fire.
Without, further ado, I bring to you my three most favorite hot sauces, all deliciously perfect in their own way.
You know about this already. If you’ve tried it, you understand. If you haven’t, you need this like you need ice in your lemonade. It’s the classic. (Tabasco doesn’t count…because it’s gross.) Equally at home on scrambled eggs, noodles, meats of all persuasions, sandwiches, and tweaked condiments, its versatility is legion. (Check out Bon Appetit’s 25 ways to use Sriracha.) Without any sour or sweet notes that can skew the taste of a dish, Sriracha adds a slow, but strong heat to anything it touches. Even better? It’s a multicultural mutt from California, by way of Thailand via Vietnam. The NYT would love to tell you more.
By the way, don’t get fooled by imitators in similar bottles, of which there are many. They pale in comparison.
2. Secret Aardvark Habanero
I happened on this while eating at Pine State Biscuits in Portland last year and it’s been stocked in my cupboards ever since. A little sweet, a little fruity, and a lot of hot, SA Habanero doesn’t get along with absolutely everything the way Sriracha does, but it does lend some great flavor and heat to most things. (This and pork are total BFFs.) Made in Portland and tinged with Caribbean influences, Secret Aardvark Habanero doesn’t seem to be stocked on this coast, but you can order it online. Perhaps in a pack of 6, so you can be a hot sauce know-it-all/distributor to your friends.
3. Bo Ky Green Chili
I’ve been going to Bo Ky/Grand Bo Ky for a while now for their cheap, cheap, delicious soup noodles. Half the reason I go is for their green chili sauce that they keep stocked on their tables. It’s lightly pickled, fresh, bright, fantastically hot, and brilliant with seafood. I have been refraining from eating it straight from the spoon. A small container is $4, a large is $7, sold at their two locations.
That is all. Let me know if I’m missing anything importantly delicious!