Spice lovers, best take a seat: ELLE Gourmet can not-so-exclusively confirm that a worldwide sriracha shortage may be on the horizon.
Huy Fong Foods Inc., the producers of Sriracha Hot Chili Garlic Sauce, have announced that production and sales of all their products will be halted until after Labour Day as a result of chili shortages. The company sources its red jalapeños from farms in California, New Mexico and Mexico – areas where extreme weather conditions may affect crop yields.
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This isn’t the first time the sriracha supply line has faced uncertainly. In 2013, a partial factory shutdown lead to concerns of an impending “Hot Sauce Apocalypse.” There was even speculation that there could be a black market, with hot sauce hawkers trying to cash in. The timing couldn’t have been worse: the early 2010s were something of a golden age for sriracha. The Thai specialty sauce’s popularity exploded into the mainstream, with the iconic red bottle and green cap branding appearing on everything from prayer candles to halloween costumes.
As with most apocalypse scares, the ramifications of 2013’s sriracha drama were not as devastating as early warnings indicated. Like the zodiac sign that their iconic rooster logo represents, the makers of Sriracha have proven themselves to be tenacious and resilient in their craft.
But just in case, these chili sauces and seasonings will be happy to step into sriracha’s hot spot.
Our “These Aren’t Sriracha But We Recommend Them” Picks
Yellowbird Organic Sriracha
Here’s a fun fact for you: some birds are immune to the burn of capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chilies their heat. The creators of Yellowbird hot sauces, Erin Link and George Milton, chose their mascot as an ode to the spice-loving avians of Thailand – and Tweety Bird.
Based in Austin, Texas, Yellowbird sources ingredients from small-scale local farms in the area. They have two kinds of sriracha: the blue agave sriracha puts a Texan twist on a Thai sauce, but their blend with limes, garlic and dates has a slightly more traditional taste. The dates add the sweetness, so there are no added sugars.
$20 for 10oz, amazon.ca
Zing Hakka•ish Chili Crisp
Zing is all about making “pantry shortcuts” for the home chef who likes to eat out. If takeout Chinese or is your go-to, Zing’s Hakka-ish Chili Crisp is a must-try.
The “spice market in a jar” was born out of an effort to combine the flavours of Sichuanese and Indo-Chinese cooking. Warm Indian spices mixed with the tang of Sichuan peppercorns make for a heady aroma in your dish (and kitchen). The brand is Canadian, and available in stores and Asian markets across the continent. If you stop by Superfresh any time soon, make sure to grab a jar.
$13 for 175ml, cookwithzing.com
Chung Jung One Gochujang
If you’ve ever had Korean food, you’re probably familiar with at least the taste of gochujang. The paste is derived from red chilis and a few other key ingredients, and makes a popular additive for many dishes like bul go gi and bibimbap. The fermentation process – traditionally done outdoors in earthen pots for years at a time – creates a flavour profile that can’t really be replicated with a home recipe (though many have tried).
The good news is that gochucjang is ubiquitous in Korean cooking, making it easy to find in stores and not too pricy. The paste itself is potent, and something to be added sparingly to a dish during cooking. For a finishing hot sauce like sriracha, go for a gochujang-based blend like this one.
$8 for 300g, well.ca
President’s Choice Sriracha Seasoning
Firing up the BBQ and looking for a dry rub? PC’s sriracha blend is close in taste to the sauce version and compliments different kinds of meats and vegetables well. This one also makes a good finishing seasoning, so the spice level of your dish is easy for you (or your guests) to adjust to taste.
If you’re south of the border or don’t have a store that carries President’s Choice nearby, McCormick makes a tried-and-true sriracha seasoning blend as well. You can use these on their own, or combine with garlic powder or spices like cayenne if you want to amp up certain flavours.
$6 for 68g, loblaws.ca
Tabasco Sriracha Sauce
It’s caesar season, and Tabasco’s sriracha sauce is an easy way to put a twist on the classic cocktail. You can also use it to make your own clamato juice, if you’re looking for a waste-conscious recipe to use leftover clam or tomato juice.
The basic Tabasco formula has only three ingredients: Tabasco peppers, salt and vinegar. Their version of sriracha adds in garlic for a kick of Southeast Asian inspiration, but the taste of Tabasco is still distinct without being overpowering. In case you fall in love, a quarter-gallon pump bottle makes it easy to upgrade.