Sriracha shortage affecting your diet? Here are some alternatives to hot sauce

Add Sriracha to the shortage list!

California-based manufacturer Huy Fong Foods has announced it will reduce production of its products, including its signature Sriracha hot sauce, due to weather conditions affecting its supply of red jalapeno peppers.

Chili sauce is becoming rare on supermarket shelves.

There are alternatives to Sriracha. Many of these condiments can be found online and in Asian grocery stores around town. Here’s how to keep your summer spicy:

Sambal Oelek: Indonesian chili sauce is slightly thicker and thicker than sriracha because it contains crushed chili flakes. It also doesn’t contain garlic (which sriracha does), but, in a pinch, it’s a go-to substitute and can be an individual replacement. Just a warning that the most widely available brand is also produced by Huy Fong Foods, and its sambal oelek will also see a production stop.

But for now, you can still get it in stores before everyone realizes it’s an obvious replacement.

Sriracha chili sauce from Lee Kum Kee: Huy Fong is not the only Sriracha maker. Sriracha from Hong Kong condiment company Lee Kum Kee has a darker red color and saltier flavor because it contains anchovies (watch out for non-seafood eaters).

Saigon hot pepper sauce: The ingredient list (and packaging) is almost identical to Huy Fong’s Sriracha, but it has more heat, which for many diners is a good thing. Other than that, it has the same garlicky aftertaste, but less vinegary flavor, which Huy Fong’s Sriracha is known for.

Uncle Chen Sriracha Chili Sauce: Slightly thinner than Huy Fong’s Sriracha, but the closest taste to it. (I’ve seen a few Vietnamese restaurants over the years use the Uncle Chen brand). The ingredients are the same as Huy Fong’s version and this is my choice for the closest substitute.

Saigon hot pepper sauce is quite similar to Huy Fong's sriracha but has a little more heat.

Cholimex Tuong Ot Hot Chili Sauce: This Vietnamese hot sauce contains tomato, which gives a sweeter flavor that is more reminiscent of a low heat sweet chili sauce, but it will go especially well with pizza, pasta, and anything with a tomato base. Treat it like spicy ketchup!

Uncle Chen's sriracha is food writer Karon Liu's top pick.

Generic cards: Other publications have suggested hot sauces, such as Tabasco, Choula, and Lo Gan Ma, as alternatives to Sriracha. These wouldn’t be my immediate picks for a one-for-one substitution, as they have completely different flavor profiles and textures. But you can take the opportunity to test possible new food-wine pairings.

Cholimex Tuong Ot Hot Sauce is a sweeter and milder hot sauce because it contains tomatoes.

Salsa macha is a very nutty chili oil that hails from Mexico (I love the local brands El Rudo and Ay Chilia Jos!) and I like to drizzle sautéed greens and steamed rice with the tangy chipotle sauce smoke of Toronto Sauce’s No. 7 Hot. Gochujang has a less acidic flavor than Sriracha and its consistency as a thick paste does not lend itself well to drizzling, but you can spread it on a chopstick or stir it into a broth. Chinese chili oils have a finer texture that can be drizzled on, just add a squeeze of lime to compensate for the lack of astringency. My colleague in the food section, Suresh Doss, suggests heading to Oey Trading Co. in Scarborough for hard-to-find imported Indonesian condiments.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not share these opinions.


Back to top button