The Trouble with Sriracha


I honestly don’t remember the last time I’ve used Sriracha sauce. Seriously. Sure, it has a nice flavor, but I never understood people like my dad, who puts Sriracha on everything.

Sriracha is said to have been first developed in Thailand, and it is a very classic hot sauce mixture of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Every Asian restaurant worth its salt has a bottle, and chances are that your pantry does too. It has a nice kick to it, balanced by the salt and vinegar.

Sriracha is also great to use in cooking. My mother puts a splash into her fried rice, and I think the results are quite nice. The fried rice has just the right amount of heat to complement everything else that’s in it.

For many people, I think Sriracha has basically turned into the Asian ketchup. That is to say, it is a condiment used to partially disguise a food’s original flavor, if not annihilate it altogether. I’ll admit to having used Sriracha for that purpose when eating Oishii Bowl’s Oyako Don.

It boils down to me feeling like putting Sriracha on food, like ketchup, translates to, “I don’t like what my food actually tastes like, so I’m going to make it taste like Sriracha!” Sriracha is very potent for a condiment. It’s for that reason many chefs find putting ketchup on their food offensive, and I honestly would feel the same if someone doused something I made with Sriracha.

My opinion probably stems from my feeling that things should be experienced “the way they were meant to be”. A potentially poor analog is why I insist on biting the bullet and reading subtitles while keeping foreign movies in their original language instead of flipping on an English dub. If I were to make something and I wanted it to taste like Sriracha, you can bet I would’ve somehow actually involved Sriracha in the process instead of inviting people to retroactively douse what I made with the stuff.

Once again, I do admit that I do like the taste of Sriracha. However, I think the culinary culture of Sriracha possibly went just a little out of hand.


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