Asian hot sauce taste test


The contenders. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

The Sriracha shortage scare of 2013 turned out not to be the Srirachapocalypse that fans of the Huy Fong (a.k.a. “rooster”) chili sauce had feared. Despite the averted crisis, we decided to hedge our bets and sample a few other varieties of Asian hot sauces from stores in the Washington area, including Steven Kim’s KimKim sauce — which, let’s put it out there, is not pretending to be a Sriracha usurper.

Fortified with water and saltines, Food section staff members rated sauces for flavor and level of heat, using a rating scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best).

Here’s how they ranked, in order of preference.

Becky Krystal

Huy Fong Sriracha Chili Sauce (17 ounces, $4.69). Average score: 3.8. Comments: “tangy, hints of garlic”; “pleasant!”; “very strong aroma, off-putting”; “fruity”; “bland, comparatively.”

Sriraja Panich Chilli Sauce
(8.8 ounces, $1.79). 3.4. “Mild at first, pleasant aftertaste”; “classic tasting”; “spicy but not painful”; “a tad musty, but sourness is good, too”; “little sweet, fruity.”

KimKim Korean Hot Sauce
(16 ounces, $6.99). 3.2. “Heavy sesame-oil taste”; “more spicy complexity than heat”; “touch of sweet smoke, tastes handmade”; “a little tangy, sort of Asian-soy flavor.”

Kikkoman Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (10.6 ounces, $2.99). 2.8. “Too hot for me — I taste nothing”; “fermented flavors, a little funk. Complex”; “not much aroma!”; “icky — barbecue-ish.”

Kim Tu Thap Sriracha Chili Sauce (28 ounces, $2.99) 2.2. “Pretty darn hot”; “very ugly color, neon orange, unnatural”; “like it’s gone off”; “strong, not entirely positive smell.”

Thai Taste Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (15.23 ounces, $3.49): 1.4. “Cardboardy, thin, bad syrupy consistency”; “meh”; “kinda fishy”; “a little vegetal.”

Becky Krystal covers food for the Going Out Guide and Weekend and Food sections. In her spare time she loves to, of course, eat and cook.
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