Diners love a little extra something for tasty pouring, dunking or smearing. That’s why the often-overlooked dipping sauce is currently enjoying time in the spotlight. Rather than just sticking with the classics, chefs are finding new ways to bring their sauces up to date, pack them full of flavour and make them work harder. From a bang-on-trend savoury jam, to a bespoke choice of cracking steak sauces, the word is out, and sauces are getting serious.
Popular in Singapore: Mentai Sauce & Steamboat Dipping sauces
Keeping up with the trends is important when it comes to appealing to diners’ tastebuds. Currently a hot favourite in Singapore are mentai sauce that’s great with not only sushi but a variety of other ingredients, as well as steamboat dipping sauces.
What is mentai sauce and how does it taste like?
While everyone has a similar idea of how mentai sauce looks like, there are varying views on what mentai-ko is. Mentai-ko refers to pollock and/or cod fish roe, as there are no specific answers to this currently.
With a unique smell and taste, mentai-ko sauce adds a salty note to your dishes. However, the mentai sauce that most diners are familiar with consists of more than just mentai-ko — it also consists of mayonnaise! The mayonnaise’s sweet and sour taste helps to bring out the umami flavour from the Mentai-ko, making it a great addition to sushi, pasta and many more.
Other than trying out different pairings to see what dishes can take on a new taste with mentai sauce, why not see if you can enhance upon the existing sauce? Take the standard mentai sauce one step further by making your own mentai sauce with a unique umami taste!
The rise of steamboat dipping sauces
Apart from mentai sauce, another type of dipping sauce that has been gaining traction is steamboat dipping sauces. While most steamboat restaurants are known for their amazing service, another aspect of the steamboat experience has been gaining momentum — steamboat dipping sauces. With a variety of base sauces and accompanying ingredients, various combinations have been making their rounds on social media.
Popular ones include:
- Crushed chilli together with dark soy sauce, vinegar and coriander
- Sesame oil with scallions, garlic, chilli oil, and vinegar
- Oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy, garlic, scallions and sesame seed
However, there are no rules to steamboat dipping sauces! Experimenting is key in creating your own signature steamboat dipping sauce.
Steak Sauces and Sauces for courses
Sexy sauces are great for adding a bit of excitement and perceived value to an existing dish. By offering a choice of sauces or condiments when ordering a dish, patrons feel that they can add their own spin. Why not up the ante by going all out on a range of creative, unexpected offerings that can turn any dish into the exotic?
For steak sauces and other meat focused menus, other than the usual black pepper sauce and mushroom brown sauce, house made savoury jams are emerging as the hottest indulgent addition. With mouth-watering flavour combos such as bourbon and bacon, chilli-peach, or a classic summer tomato and basil, just a smear can take your steak sauce to new heights.
Put a twist on the popular pasta sauces
There’s no denying that sauces are an important part of pasta dishes — a great sauce works to compliment the ingredients used in the pasta dish for a well-balanced flavour that keep diners coming back for more. No stranger to the world of pasta sauce are classics such as marinara sauce, and creamy carbonara sauce.
Yet, chefs are always on the hunt for something extraordinary. If you’re looking to go beyond the mainstream sauces, try these:
- Red wine together with butter sauce which gives a pasta a deep red colour and flavour
- Adding kale to your pesto sauce, giving your diners a more delicious way of eating their greens
- Pair vodka and heavy cream with your usual tomato-based sauce for an unusual twist
World Cuisine Influences in Sauces
- Try a Thai chilli lime mayo on a blue swimmer crab salad, a decadent chart topper for just a little extra effort.
- Infuse a hit of Java by using Sambal Olek, the spicy chilli sauce which can pretty much lift anything from roast chicken to deep fried bar snacks.
- Chefs are adding an Italian pacquiao pepper pesto to beef sausages and skirt steak.
- Add a Spanish spin with Romesco sauce on a grilled seafood platter.
- Bar snack heaven starts with yellow curry chicken wings dipped into house made tomato or mango chutney.
- For native flavour, a blob of Aussie bush tomato chutney goes great on a charcuterie board.
For Chefs who want to go one step further, blending sauces into a dish, as well as offering them as standalones, is a way for their venue to stand out. An exceptional sauce can lift an average bar snack into the stratosphere.
Try these ideas for some sauce inspiration
- Create green curry sausage rolls from scratch then add yoghurt dipping sauce.
- Make pastry cigars with a red curry duck inside to blow your diners away.
- For big flavour, add a little Mexican hot sauce to your bechamel or some salsa picante to elevate the classic mac ’n’ cheese.
- Create an exciting Vietnamese spin by using green chilli sauce and chopped prawns in deep fried rice paper rolls or in spring rolls.
- Add extra punch with Chinese Kung Pao sauce into a chicken pie.
The possibilities for creativity and innovation are endless, so get the sauces splashing, put those ramekins to good use and watch your favourite dishes soar to the next level.