Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Mess with Sriracha

I feel that it goes without saying that Sriracha is one of Mankind's top 5 achievements; the others being the wheel, harnessing fire, GoldenEye 64 and the forward pass. Some would laud Sriracha for the way it makes good food great thanks to it's just powerful enough kick and delightful flavor. Others would say that Sriracha is more impressive for the way it takes crappy and barely edible food and injects them with enough flavor to make it enjoyable. Both of these are true but I feel that Sriracha's true ace in the hole is it's versatility. Now, I have been told before that I have a wee bit of hot sauce addiction and I'm not disputing that but I am hard pressed to think of a food that is not enhanced by a wee bit of Rooster Sauce. Here's a quick list off the top of my head:

  • Asian food, particularly Pho
  • Soup
  • Pizza
  • Fries Mixing ketchup and Sriracha together is a little slice of heaven
  • Meat
  • Sandwiches
  • Latkes
  • Alcoholic beverages - Deliciousness awaits ===> SRIRACHA BEER!
  • Hot Dogs
  • Basically anything else
It's the greatest. I feel that over the years Sriracha has proven to us that it should not be trifled with, it is perfect as it is. Unfortunately the proprietors of multiple Chinese eateries in the fine city of New York disagree. They think that it is acceptable to water down Sriracha. It is not. Everyone knows this.

I went on a wee bit of a dumpling crawl this past weekend through Chinatown in NYC. It seemed like a fun way to get acquainted with the Dim Sum options that I have in my new area. Now, I must be honest, Sriracha is not my go-to when it comes to Dim Sum. I usually make a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and hot chili oil. At the same time I don't like to make trouble so I'll tend to make do with what is on the table. At a three of the places I stopped at Sriracha was the only hot option on the table. Three out of three times it was watered down. This was not a case of one place having lower standards or a rogue bottle of watered down Sriracha. This was not only a trend it was an abomination against the hot sauce gods.

Part of what makes Sriracha superior to Tabasco, Cholula and the like is it's texture. It has a thickness that the others don't. This not only adds a little complexity to the flavor but it gives it the ability to stick to food and stay in one place. Not when it's watered down. It just goes all over the damn place. I could find a way to adapt to that if I wanted to but I soon learned that there would be no point as the watered down Sriracha was completely flavorless. All it really did was dye the outside of my dumplings reddish. There was no spice. There was no delightful garlic flavor. There was nothing.The let down was monumental. It was like being given Super Bowl tickets and finding out that they were counterfeit at the gate.

I was left to ask myself who would ever allow for such an injustice. If Sriracha was expensive I could understand a restaurant attempting to cut corners by watering it down a little bit. The 28 oz bottle sells for about 4 bucks. It is one of the cheapest condiments out there. This leads me to believe that either the owners of the restaurants think they are improving the sauce by watering it down (impossible) or that they are so goddamn cheap that they must be cutting similar corners on everything. Therefore the chicken and mushroom dumplings I thought that I was enjoying were more than likely pigeon and newspaper dumplings.

There is only one solution to this problem and it is something that I have been considering for decades. I'm going to have to carry a holster with hot sauces. Although that seems insufficient, holsters usually only have room for two guns (or in my case sauces). I would probably have to go with Sriracha and Frank's in this instance, sadly I would be shit out of luck when in a Mexican place, there just wouldn't be room to carry Tapatio. Wait. . . I don't need a holster, I need a bandolier! We all know that bandoliers look totally badass, what if they were filled with delicious hot sauces? Boom. Problem solved.

1 comment:

  1. In an eerie coincidence, I blogged about Sriracha this week, too. I griped that you shouldn't call a dish "fried farro with bacon, egg, and Sriracha" if the Sriracha is served on the side in a metal dish. Don't disrespect the Sriracha, people. If it's not incorporated into the dish, leave it in its awesome rooster bottle.