Move over tomato ketchup, Sriracha is in town! Sriracha has become the staple condiment on the American dinner tables, next to the mayo and mustard. The garlic chili sauce in the plastic bottle with the green cap is hip, cool and trendy, it’s everywhere. It has its own cult following. You’ll find it in all kinds of recipes, from savory to sweet, from hot to cold. There is ‘The Sriracha cookbook, Sriracha gifts and merchandise. Fast food restaurants are getting on the bandwagon and offer burgers with their version of Sriracha sauce. More manufacturers are getting in on the hot sauce craze and are coming out with their own Sriracha topping. So you know, Sriracha is named after a town in Thailand and produced by Hua Hong Foods in USA. Not to be confused with the chili garlic sauce with the pepper seeds and pulp, made by the same manufacturer, similar to Sambal Oelek.
I really wonder why Sriracha is THE chili sauce. There are better sauces when it comes to taste! In our house it has always been the garlic chili sauce from Indonesia. My first recommendation would be ABC’s ‘Sambal Asli,’ my favorite. Heck, I could say ABC long before I could say Sriracha. As for taste ABC’s sauce is well known for its original sweet and garlic flavor. Similar consistency as tomato ketchup. It is also tangier and smoother than Sriracha.
There are 3 different kinds of ABC Chili Sauces in the US: Hot and Sweet Chili Sauce, Extra Hot Chili Sauce and Tropical Chili Sauce. Just 2 months ago I took the Tropical version off the shelf with the label: ‘Sambal Asli’. This is a bit confusing. Will this be enough to get mainstream attention? I think not. What also helped make the Sriracha sauce popular is the packaging; a convenient squeeze bottle with the special small green lid, which allows for better control by squirting the sauce, also for decorating purposes and minimizes spilling. Another reason Sriracha scores high is that it’s widely available. ABC Chili Sauces are only available in Asian specialty stores. After some research I learned that Big H.J. Heinz Company has recently introduced their own Tomato Ketchup blend with Sriracha flavor. ABC Indonesia is a subsidiary of the US based H.J. Heinz Company.
Come on ABC (my Always Best Chili!!), get your act together! Change the packaging and boost your marketing in the US. For now a niche player for the connoisseur and if it’s up to me, soon a heavy contender as THE chili sauce with the yellow cap!
©2015 Jeff Keasberry