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Bottles of Sriracha chili sauce on the shelves of a supermarket in Rosemead.
Yes, it's true: Sriracha might vanish from our shelves for a little while.
It's been dubbed the Srirachapocalypse. People are worried.
Americans have become so obsessed and dependent on Sriracha that in 2012 we sucked down $60 million worth of the stuff. We've read cookbooks, watched documentaries, Lays created a potato chip flavor based on the sauce and now even Subway carries a Sriracha Chicken Melt.
We've invested so much of ourselves in that venerable red and green bottle that we can no longer see the spicy forest for the trees. We need to relax. The world offers thousands of different hot sauces. Many of them are better than Sriracha.
Here are five alternatives to get you through this difficult time:
Credit: Aaron Fulkerson/Flickr Creative Commons
Let's get the most obvious one out of the way first. Like the infamous Sriracha produced by Huy Fong Foods, Tapatío is a local SoCal brand. The sauce is a must-have staple around Los Angeles, and you can find it down the aisles of almost any local grocery store, any taqueria or truck. Like Cholula, it's less intense cousin, Tapatío is bright, citrusy and pairs not just with Mexican food, but also with Mediterranean food, chili, eggs. I've even used it making spicy tuna rolls.
Credit: Dkg/Wikimedia Commons
Did you know there are more than 300 varieties of Indonesian sambal? This popular crushed chili paste usually sits on shelves right next to the Sriracha — I use the sambal oelek Huy Fong produces all the time. But the sauce itself is common enough that you can find other versions of it in Asian markets all over Los Angeles. Sure, it's thick and pasty — you can't really dot sambal over your pizza or spoon onto a burrito — but in a rice bowl, stew or with roasted chicken, there's nothing better.
Take Two's Meghan McCarty writes:
Peri peri sauce, or piri piri, is a hot sauce of Portuguese origin, though made with an African type of bird's eye pepper of the same name. It was incorporated into Portuguese cuisine during the colonization of Southern Africa where the chili grows wild. The sauce is now popular outside Portugal, particularly in Africa and is a staple at the international restaurant chain, Nando's. It goes particularly well with seafood. You can find Peri Peri at Cost Plus World Market.
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Yuzu is a citrus fruit cultivated widely in Japan, but you'll find it all over East Asia. It tastes unique — I'd say sort of a mix of orange, meyer lemon and grapefruit — and has been fashionable in fancy restaurants lately. Mix yuzu with a few chillies and salt and you get one of the best condiments in the world: yuzo kosho. Try it on fish and you can spare yourself the obligatory lemon. It'll brighten up a boring rice bowl, and is great for dipping gyoza in, too. Yuzu kosho is a little tougher to find than others, but you can find it at a a Japanese market like Marukai or Mitsuwa.
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Leslie Berestein Rojas from Multi-American says:
The classic El Yucateco sauces, red and green, are made from spicy and delicious habanero peppers, which give them a nice kick. They make this extra insanely spicy habanero (11,600 Scoville units) "Kutbil-Ik" sauce, which is, well, very hot. Plus it has a cool Mayan name. It's quite good on eggs - if necessary, you can dilute the effect with lots of tortillas and milk. And they're pretty! A duo of the bright green and bright red sauces makes a nicely festive-looking Christmas gift — I once gave this as a gift, along with the "Kutbil-Ik."
So there you go. Stock your fridge and diversify! Or you can still have Sriracha--there are dozens of other varieties made by companies that aren't Huy Fong. So stop panicking. Please?