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Sriracha Hot Sauce: A torrid love-affair

In case you've never seen this lovely, dangerous green-topped bottle sitting on the table at your favorite Asian restaurant...I introduce you to Sriracha hot sauce. It is a devil, a temptress, a delicious condiment and yet a feared adversary not to be trifled with.

I use Sriracha on just about everything you could conceivably use hot-sauce on: meat, eggs, potatoes, vegetables, anything that needs a kick in the ass where flavor is concerned. And believe me, Sriracha will give your food a kick in the ass--and give you a kick in the solar plexus.

The thing about Sriracha is it's not immediately hot when you put it in your mouth. No, when it first hits your tongue it has a complex, earthy kind of chili-pepper flavor. It's thick and robust, like tomato sauce almost, not thin and acidic like the "Nuclear Hellfire" hotsauce you see in souvenir stores or what have you. No, this is actually almost like a chili relish at first.

However, somewhere between swallowing and digesting, it hits you. You will find your esophagus burning and your eyes filling with tears as you dab your next bite of food into it, all the while eyeballing that glass (two glasses) of water you've carefully placed next to you. Then after about ten minutes, that burn starts to set in on your tongue and you're in for a long ride.

Eating Sriracha is almost a contest: can you successfully use it to flavor your food, while not giving yourself an ulcer or a trip to the emergency room??? At the same time, it's like going into battle: you feel a sense of danger, a thrill each time you reach for the bottle, not knowing if you'll be able to do it this time. Wondering if this time...this time the great Sriracha will beat you down for good. But it's a battle worth fighting.


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