Sriracha is in short supply as the manufacturer is suspending production. To do?

Add Sriracha to the list of things in short supply!

California-based manufacturer Huy Fong Foods announced will reduce production of its products, including its iconic Sriracha hot sauce, due to weather conditions affecting its supply of red jalapeno peppers.

Hot sauce is becoming scarce on supermarket shelves.

There are alternatives to Sriracha. Many of these condiments can be found online and in Asian stores around town. Here’s how to keep your summer spicy:

Sambal Oelek: Indonesian chili sauce is a bit thicker and thicker than sriracha because it contains crushed chili flakes. It also doesn’t contain garlic (which does have sriracha), but, in a pinch, it’s an ideal substitute and can be a one-for-one replacement. Just a heads up that the most widely available brand is also produced by Huy Fong Foods, and their sambal oelek will also see a stop in production.

But for now you can still get it in stores before everyone else realizes it’s an obvious replacement.

Lee Kum Kee’s Sriracha Chili Sauce: Huy Fong isn’t the only Sriracha maker out there. Sriracha from Hong Kong seasoning company Lee Kum Kee has a deeper red color and saltier flavor because it contains anchovies (warning for non-seafood eaters).

Saigon Hot Sauce: The ingredient list (and packaging) is almost identical to Huy Fong’s Sriracha, but it contains more heat, which, for many diners, is a good thing. Other than that, it has the same garlicky aftertaste, but less of the vinegar flavor, that Huy Fong’s Sriracha is known for.

Condiment giant Lee Kum Kee also has its own version of sriracha.  Theirs uses anchovies, which results in a saltier flavor and deeper color.

Uncle Chen Sriracha Chili Sauce: Slightly thinner than Huy Fong’s Sriracha, but, in flavor, it’s the closest. (I have seen some Vietnamese restaurants over the years use the Uncle Chen brand.) The ingredients are the same as Huy Fong’s version and it’s my choice for the closest substitute.

Saigon Hot Chilli Sauce is pretty close to Huy Fong's sriracha but has a bit more heat.

Cholimex Tuong Ot Hot Chili Sauce: This Vietnamese hot sauce contains tomato, resulting in a sweeter flavor that is more reminiscent of a mildly hot sweet chili sauce, but will go particularly well on pizza, pasta, anything with a tomato base. Treat it like a spicy ketchup!

Uncle Chen's sriracha is food writer Karon Liu's top pick.

Wildcards: Other publications have suggested hot sauces, such as Tabasco, Choula, and Lo Gan Ma, as alternatives to Sriracha. Those wouldn’t be my immediate picks for a one-for-one substitution, as they have completely different flavor profiles and textures. But you can take this as an opportunity to try out possible new food combinations.

Cholimex Tuong Ot Hot Chili Sauce is a sweeter and milder hot sauce because it contains tomatoes.

Macha sauce is a very nutty chili oil that comes from Mexico (I like the locals El Rudo and Ay Chilia Jos! brands) and I like to dip sautéed vegetables and steamed rice in Toronto’s No. 7 Hot Sauce Chipotle Smoked Hot Sauce. Gochujang has a less acidic flavor than Sriracha and its thick paste-like consistency doesn’t lend itself well to drizzling, but you can spread it on a baguette or stir it into broth. Chinese chili oils have a finer texture that can be drizzled, just add a squeeze of lime to make up for the lack of astringency. My colleague from the food section, Suresh Doss, suggests heading to Oey Trading Co. in Scarborough for hard-to-find imported Indonesian condiments.


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