Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
If we could hook ourselves to an IV of Sriracha and have the stuff running through our veins, we honestly would – there’s a reason people are so obsessed with the stuff.
Spicy, tangy, sweet and often garlicky, the Asian hot sauce (pronounced “see-rah-jah”) can be squirted on just about anything, from condiments to stews and soups, like pho and ramen.
Chuck the stuff on meat as a marinade, throw it into a creamy cheese sauce for an extra kick, slather it on your fried eggs or drizzle it into a sandwich or onto a bánh mì. The possibilities really are endless with this spicy condiment.
That’s why there’s understandable uproar about the possibility of an imminent global shortage of the world’s most popular sriracha brand, from California-based Huy Fong Foods.
In fact, one restaurant in LA is even offering people free bánh mì in exchange for a bottle of the coveted red sauce. It really is pandemonium that’s bordering on comical.
But what on earth are we to do if our supermarket stops stocking the stuff?! Don’t worry, Twisted has got you covered…
What’s the deal with the global sriracha shortage?
News of an impending sriracha shortage has been bubbling for a few weeks now, after Huy Fong Foods announced it’d had an “abysmal” crop of red jalapeños this spring, as a result of “weather conditions affecting the quality of chili peppers”.
Huy Fong typically uses red jalapeño chili peppers found in Mexico, New Mexico and California – all of which have been hit by the “mega-drought”.
The weather changes are thought to be a result of climate change. So, basically, this is all our fault, guys.
As a result, all new orders of the sauce are being placed on hold until after September 6, 2022, to keep up with supply concerns.
The sauce is the most common variety used across the US, and is also sold wholesale to several restaurants and Asian supermarkets in the UK.
This means the next few months are almost certainly going to see a lack of Huy Fong’s recognisable rooster-adorned bottles on shelves. Sob.
What other brands of sriracha are worth buying?
The good news is, Huy Fong aren’t the only ones selling sriracha.
For one, Tabasco make their own version of sriracha which more than fits the bill, as do Flying Goose, who are one of the most popular brands on the UK market.
Flying Goose tends to have a slightly more garlicky taste than Huy Fong’s sauce, and around 20 percent less chili. However, the two taste pretty alike, all in all, and if you like a milder spice you may even prefer Flying Goose’s offering.
Whilst we’re at it, may we also heartily recommend Eaten Alive’s smoke sriracha, if you want a fermented hot sauce with similar hot, punchy flavour notes and a little more complexity?
Oh, and Sauce Shop sell a honey sriracha drizzle, which is predictably sweet and equally packed with chili to create a pretty dreamy balance. Plus, you’re gonna wanna try Dr Will’s sriracha, made with red peppers, dates for sweetness and habanero chilis.
There are so many options out there, why not use this sriracha shortage as an opportunity to branch out?
What other hot sauces are good alternatives?
Of course, sriracha is just one hot sauce in a sea of potential options, and several alternative condiments also offer a kick to your dinner plate.
Sambal oelek is another great contender if you fancy something a little different with a healthy dose of chili. Hailing from Indonesia, sambal is thicker and a little less sweet, with more flavour notes from the chili itself and the vinegar.
Harissa is another winner. Hailing from North Africa, this is far more of a paste than sriracha, but a small dollop offers a similar smack of chili, with slightly less of a tang. We’d lean on the side of caution when using this as a sriracha substitute, but it can definitely be depended on for a similar punch of spice in stews and soups.
Oh, and make sure to use Belazu’s rose harissa – it’s Ottolenghi’s fave.
Korean Gochujang is perhaps one of the closest options you can go for in flavour, although it’s far less tangy due to a lack of vinegar. You can thin yours with water to achieve a similar consistency to sriracha, and even play around with adding vinegar and sugar.
Jongga Vision’s Gochujang is one of our faves, but honestly, there are tonnes of gems out there.
A traditional hot sauce can also do the job, whether that’s your bog standard Tabasco (only a couple of drops will do), Frank’s or an independent brand you love.
We’re particularly partial to friends-of-Twisted Kold Sauce for a dose of chlili. With fermented Cayenne, Habaneros and red Thai chilis blended with vinegar, there are similar flavour notes to sriracha here, but less sweetness.
Try Kold Smoke for a hit of East London Liquor Company whisky for good measure. We’re certain it would sufficiently pimp up any sarnie, Asian or otherwise.
How can I make my own sriracha?
The final option, should you run out of sriracha, is to make some yourself.
All you need to do this is hot chili peppers of your choice (authentic Thai sriracha uses spur chilis, whilst Huy Fong Foods uses red jalapenos), garlic, distilled vinegar, salt and sugar, which you blend together in a food processor.
Simmer your chili peppers and garlic in vinegar until they’re nice and soft and then blend and sieve it to ensure its nice and smooth.
Then, simply add your salt and sugar, mix and Bob’s your uncle!
As for your measurements of all the above ingredients, recipes vary, but we’d suggest hunting one down from a Thai chef you really love, to ensure it’s as authentic as possible (we’re massive fans of this one from Pai at Hot Thai Kitchen).
We hope you’re feeling a little more comfortable about the upcoming sriracha shortages now. Just remember, folks… there’s plenty more to life than Huy Fong sriracha, even if it is damn good.