It is not a strong enough term to say that I enjoy Sriracha hot sauce. I have a full-blown relationship with it.
There is no greater culinary joy than the eye-tearing tongue-flame of the red chili sauce. There isn’t a single genre of savory food that I have not yet doused with the spicy red goo. If you invent a new dish, I don’t even know what it is yet, but I already want to put Sriracha on it. I’ve cooked with it in marinades, dips, stuffing, wraps, sauces, fillers, and have even brought it with me into a restaurant that doesn’t serve it.
Sriracha is the only word I know that starts with an S and then R. If there are others, please don’t tell me. I want to keep this stuff special.
Here are some highlights of my personal journey with Sriracha:
- I’ve claimed Kim Phung’s to be one of my favorite restaurants in Austin for many years now. In retrospect, however, I now wonder how much of that is because this was the first place that I was introduced to Sriracha. It’s a Vietnamese restaurant that happens to serve great Chinese food, and I was first dragged there by my roommate Alex and his narcoleptic girlfriend Alicia. (She didn’t fall asleep at the table. I know you’re wondering.) But she was quite insane, and I endured her ramblings and passed the time test-driving the wacky little assortment of condiments on the table. I was blown away by the red sauce with the green lid and the rooster on the bottle. (It would later be referred to as “cock sauce” by my circle of friends. Because of the rooster.)
- A few years later, I found myself in an Asian Market. Well, let me be clear. It wasn’t like I suddenly came to, suddenly standing there with no knowledge of how I got there. I found myself in the Asian Market because I was feeling culinary-adventurous. I scurried up and down the aisles, hurrying to grab armfuls of random ingredients to taste at home, rushing to get out of there in a hurry because of the stench of exotic half-rotten fish. I had never considered the possibility that I’d be able to find Sriracha on a simple store shelf, but there it was. And cheaper than ketchup. Imagine my new joy, to be able to devour this stuff at home. I bought 6 bottles, saved one for myself and passed the rest out to my closest friends. After I quickly ran out, I made regular visits to Super Fishrot Market to stay restocked from then on.
- Through trial and error at home, I eventually realized that Sriracha makes a good cat deterrent. Whenever I had to leave my plate for any length of time, there was a pretty good chance that Diablo would hop up there and go to town on whatever I was eating the second I left the room. But if I laced the edges of my plate with Sriracha, he’d sniff in close, flinch his head back like he’d just been punched in his kitty face, and haul ass out of there. I’ve considered covering my clothes with it in the wilderness to fend off bears.
- Over the years, I watched Sriracha grow in popularity. It’s no longer a secret. Now most grocery stores serve it, and I only have to go back to Super Fishrot Market whenever I’m culinary-adventurous for something else. I was super geeked out to see The Oatmeal do a comic about Sriracha, I stood up and clapped when I saw a chef use it on Iron Chef America, and I’ve even seen it show up at local burger places. The Sriracha word is out.
- Diva Girlfriend supports my Sriracha consumption even though she doesn’t like spicy food. A bottle of Sriracha magically appeared in my pantry recently, and she bought me this book out of nowhere. Score.