With its spicy-tart flavour, sriracha sauce is well-loved by chefs and diners across Asia, and is a popular sauce in many dishes. But of course, a menu needs a variety of flavours to entice a wide range of palates – and sometimes, simply swopping a sriracha-flavoured dish with a different sauce can bring exciting results!
The popularity of sriracha sauce and sriracha substitutes
Sriracha sauce’s global domination1 began several years ago, when the hot sauce exploded onto the US – a market that was more accustomed to less spicy sauces. Its popularity quickly grew, and market research firm IBISWorld even identified hot sauce production as the eighth-fastest-growing industry in the world.
In Asia however, diners are spoilt for choice with a large assortment of sriracha sauce substitutes that can give dishes the “kick” that diners want, while also introducing surprising flavours into their meals.
This is a selection of popular sriracha alternatives that you can use to flavour your dishes with.
Sambal sauce is an Indonesian and Malaysian condiment made of fresh red chillies, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, scallions, fish sauce, vinegar and lime juice. With its spiciness and flavour profile, this is an ideal sriracha substitute that can be used in many Asian dishes.
It’s flexible, and the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore slips it into their colourful sambal chilli marinated chicken with turmeric glutinous rice dumpling. Over at Hong Kong’s City Garden Hotel, they stir fry this sauce with clams, and at the Kempinski in Jakarta, it accompanies porridge, noodles, fried rice, roast lamb, beef liver and laksa.
The Korean craze for spicy sauce does not look to be dying down anytime soon. South Korea’s latest offering is gojuchang sauce, made from red chilli, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.
Gojuchang sauce’s flavour profile is in line with what international food and restaurant consultants Baum and Whiteman have identified as this year’s flavour trends. Consumers are looking for deep contrasts to richness, hence the appeal of the fermented tartness of gojuchang.2
Hellmann’s Smoked Chilli Dressing
This new sauce combines favourites from east and west – the spiciness of chilli and sriracha, alongside a smoky taste that’s perfect for burgers, charred vegetables, and other dishes commonly found in both Chinese and western restaurants.
Try Hellmann’s Smoked Chilli dressing with your grilled burgers for an extra dose of smokiness, spice and flavour!
Looking for a sriracha sauce alternative that leave diners’ taste buds tingling, without lighting up their tongues with spiciness? Yuzu, a zesty yellow citrus fruit that tastes like a cross between a lemon and a tangerine, is slated to make its mark in kitchens around the world. The fruit, which originates in East Asia and has a place in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines, fits the bill in the world’s search for exotic flavours.
Yuzu’s tart flavour lends itself well to salad dressings such as vinaigrette, and refreshing desserts like sorbet. Innovative chefs also add a few drops of yuzu juice to cut rich sauces (like hollandaise) to give some of their dishes a distinctly citrus-like taste.
This isn’t a sauce per say, but coconut can transform your dishes in a variety of ways. For example, coconut cream adds richness to sauces, while nata de coco gives fibre and body, and toasted coconut adds lightness and a fashionable scorched flavour to desserts. What’s more, coconut water can be used as a base for soups, lending a delicate sweetness to chicken and seafood that in turn infuse the stock with flavour.
It looks great in photos too, which is perfect for Instagram-savvy audiences. At Cafe Organic in Bali, smoothie bowls topped with fruit, acai, chia seeds and goji berries are served in coconut husks that serve as an edible, IG story-worthy bowl.
Salted Egg Yolk Sauce
A trendy flavour that’s surpassed sriracha’s appeal in Asia is salted egg yolk. Custardy, salted egg yolk filling first oozed its way into dim sum menus, tempting diners who love steamed white buns. Now, the sauce’s appeal is spreading across the region, especially in places with Chinese cuisine.
Here’s an interesting fact – when salted egg yolk croissants were first launched in Singapore, they were sold out at bakery, Flavour Flings, within half an hour!
Salted egg yolk sauce has also been used to flavour all kinds of stir-fried dishes, such as crab, prawn, and even bitter gourd. It can be tossed in pasta, drizzled on onion rings, and makes a luscious dipping sauce for fries.
In the hands of skilled chefs, a sauce can completely transform a dish and raise its popularity with diners. Experiment with these sauces and see how quickly you can turn a regular dish into a hot crowd favourite!