Trendy Food Watch: Cooking with Sriracha Will be the Next Big Food Fad of Late 2012 and Early 2013

August 29, 2012 7:40 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Sriracha is gonna kill it in 2012 and 2013 (Photo: Google Image)

Sriracha Hot Sauce is about to have a great, big culinary moment, and we're giving you everything you need to know to prepare yourself in advance (short of a suit of armor that fits around your stomach lining). If you live in a city with a high volume of dim sum joints, you've probably seen it adorning countertops, enjoying the same treatment that culinary essentials like soy sauce and hot chili oil do. And even if the establishment has watered it down to stretch their money, you'll still feel the burn.

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That burn is unlike anything you've experienced from an American or Latin hot sauce. Unlike the acidity from those chile-and-vinegar based sauces, which tang against your tongue like the crack of a whip or a static shock, underneath the robustly flavorful surface of the sauce, with its perfectly balanced flavor that tempers Thai chiles with notes of garlic, there's a fire burning.

It's spicy in the way we think we know spicy. But even seasoned spice fanatics reach for a glass of cold water their first time eating it.

We've already sung its praises many times, but in smaller ways: David Chang's sprout recipe goes excellently with it, and Jean-Georges's citrus sauce would be nothing without a heaping squirt of it.

With all of that in mind, what's holding it back from greatness? Its spice could be too much for people, but we think the real problem (if you could call it that) is that no one has found a way to serve it up in a dessert in a way that gets a unanimous reception.

That said, Little Baby's Ice Cream in Philadelphia comes close. Their Earl Grey and Sriracha ice cream is as brave as it gets-- speaking to the kind of flavor-pairing preciousness that has old-timey chefs laughing the new ones out of the kitchen.

But this one works. And it's the closest anyone's come. And once we have a recipe that celebrates sriracha in a dessert, we'll be sure to post it here.

Till then, you can expect it to start popping up everywhere in small ways. Look out for it at your local pizza shop. And if you don't start seeing it, bring your own.

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