Hot Stuff

I’ve always loved hot foods, sometimes to the point of trouble.

I recall sitting in Hudson’s Mexican Radio once and being overcome by a drenching sweat brought on by the ridiculously hot sauces they had on the table. Nothing would make the burning subside, so I sat there dripping, much to the amusement of my dining companions. Maybe one should avoid someting with a name like Atomic Hot Sauce or Hell Fire?

While hot is good, hot for the sake of hot is not a virtue. The best spicy condiments combine flavor and heat. My everyday choice is Frank’s RedHot which brings a little burn, but is mild enough that you can use a LOT of it. And no, I am not a Tabasco guy.

But recently I had my eyes opened to the delights of sriracha, the Thai chili sauce that’s delightfully sweet, garlicky, and hot. This stuff is so good that you want to sqirt it in your mouth right out of the bottle.

The most popular sriracha in the United States is certainly Tuong Ot Sriracha, the one with the rooster on the bottle, but I prefer the sauce by Lee Kum Kee that can be found in Price Chopper. While satisfyingly hot it’s a bit rounder and mellower with a more complex flavor.

It’s hard to go back to ketchup or mustard after sriracha. How do you keep a boy down on the farm once he’s had a taste of Thailand?

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